New Guidance Launched to Help get Brits Safely Back to Work
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.
This follows the Prime Minister setting out steps to beat the virus and restart the economy, enabling the government to protect jobs, restore people’s livelihoods and fund the country’s vital public services.
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 are allowed to 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 governments 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 the government expects 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.
There are 8 workplace guidance documents now available under Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance.
The specific guidance covers the following areas of industry and commerce:
- Construction and other outdoor work Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
- Factories, plants and warehouses Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses.
- Labs and research facilities Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments.
- Offices and contact centres Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.
- Other people’s homes Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes.
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.
- Shops and branches Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
- Vehicles Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile