Thinking about the safest way to get staff back to work? Anna Craig, Managing Consultant, discusses what you need to know…
Whilst the guidance still states that workplaces should make ‘every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines outlined by the government’, such guidelines are now stated as ‘2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable’. In accordance with the guidance, employers should consider and set out the mitigations that will be introduced in their risk assessments.
The five key points of which all employers should be aware are to:
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment (in line with HSE Guidance), in consultation with workers or trade unions. Employers should share the results of the risk assessment with their workforce and on their website.
- Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures. Employers should support an increase in the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning. Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently (paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards), and employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points, as well as hand drying facilities.
- Help people to work from home by discussing home working arrangements, ensuring they have the right equipment to do so (for example remote access to work systems), including them in all necessary communications, and looking after their physical and mental wellbeing.
- Maintain 2 metre social distancing wherever possible. For example, by re-designing workspaces, creating one way traffic systems, using floor markings, putting up signs, avoiding sharing workstations and switching to see visitors by appointment only if possible.
- Where people cannot be two metres apart, manage transmission risk. For example, by considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate, keeping the activity time involved as short as possible, using screens or barriers to separate people from each other, using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible, staggering arrival and departure times and reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’.
Anna Craig, Managing Consultant, Bradfield HR