As the government publishes guidance to help employers get their businesses back up and running and operating safely, this can seem a daunting task for both employers and employees alike.
Whilst there is new guidance covering varying workplace settings that are allowed to be open, the practical implications of putting this into action can vary depending on the type of business and your staff circumstances.
You can view the government guidance here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
However, the five main points to consider are:
1. Work from home, if you can
Reasonable steps should be made by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home, staff should be encouraged to return to work ensuring that the appropriate social distancing measures have been implemented.
2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
As an employer, you will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with your staff, to establish what guidelines to put in place. Ideally, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website/notice boards to communicate the measures being put in place. (this is expected for all businesses with over 50 employees).
3. Maintain 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.
Finally, and probably the most important area to consider – people are all different and will all be facing different scenarios linked to Coronavirus, their families, working and their own safety.
As an employer having meaningful conversations with staff throughout these uncertain times are vital in ensuring you manage expectations of your team but also that of your business.
Likewise having regular staff meetings with minutes and actions can support you in ensuring that you are doing everything reasonably practicable in regard to the duty of care to your staff and your health and safety responsibilities.
For guidance and support please contact me and let me help assist your own transition phase during these unprecedented times.
Until then all the best!
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