Updated 3 June 2020
The government has set out detailed guidelines for employers as businesses and other organisations get up and running again. These guidelines are designed, in the words of the Prime Minister, to make workplaces "Covid Secure" and are centred around 5 common key points, with more detailed guidance set out for 8 specific working environments.
The Five Key Points are:
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 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 all businesses with over 50 employees are expected 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.
The detailed guidance documents include a downloadable notice that employers should display to show employees and visitors that they are complying with the guidance.
The gov.uk website has published 8 guides for a range of different types of work and working environments. You can click on the relevant link below to go to the specific guidance for that type of work:
Where employers operate in more than one type of working environment the relevant guidance for each should be followed.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is being provided with an additional £14 million for extra resources to help them to deal with the Coronavirus situation, including additional inspectors. The government has said that the HSE will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the guidelines, including unannounced inspections.
Fines for non compliance by the public are to increase, starting with £100 but doubling with every subsequent infringement up to £3,600.
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