One of the most heavily reported areas has been the government's advice that people who can return to work do so. Employers are under a duty to keep their staff safe in the workplace. The government has issued guidance for employers on how to safely allow employees back to work.
There are 5 key points for businesses to implement as soon as possible:
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.
Employers should display a notice in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.
It is vital for employers to ensure that they comply with their obligations under the scheme and the government guidance is being regularly updated.
To discuss this or any other employment related matter, contact us.