Covid-19 Secure guidance: Employers should manage COVID-19 health and safety risks

The Government has started easing lockdown restrictions, with more people now encouraged to return to work, now is time to make sure you and your workplace are prepared. The Prime Minister said that people in construction and manufacturing as those who could not work from home, who should return to building sites and factories.

Return to Work Guidance from the Government

The Government has published guidance to help employers keep their workplaces operating safely during this time.

5 key points

This sets out practical steps for businesses to help with the return to work, 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, our 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 look into 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.


Staying safe outside your home

The UK Government has set out 11 principles you should follow to ensure that time spent with others outside your home is as safe as possible, it is your responsibility to adopt these principles wherever possible. The Government is also using these principles as the basis of discussions with businesses, unions, local Government and many other stakeholders, to agree on how the principles should apply in different settings to make them safer.

These principles are:

1. Keep your distance from people outside your household
2. Keep your hands and face as clean as possible
3. Work from home if you can
4. Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your household
5. Reduce the number of people you spend time within a work setting
6. Avoid crowds
7. If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travel
8. Wash your clothes regularly
9. Keep indoor places well ventilated
10. Face coverings
11. When at work, follow the advice given to you by your employer

How Horizon can help

Keeping up-to-date on the Government’s guidance is important, you will need to incorporate the guidance into your site-specific health and safety procedures.  If you need any support with your return to work plans, please contact us to learn more about how we can help you to protect your employees and business.

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