The Government has published guidance for employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely.
New ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines are available to UK employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.
The government has consulted approximately 250 stakeholders in preparing the guidance.
It has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to develop best practice on the safest ways of working across the economy, providing people with the confidence they need to return to work.
The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which can be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways.
5 Key Points
This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:
1. Work from home, if you can
All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, the message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.
2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.
3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.
4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
Employers should investigate putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.
5. Reinforcing cleaning processes
Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.
The Government has put together eight guides, which cover a range of different types of work.
A downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers, and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.