As government restrictions continue to allow more freedom within the business sector it is important to fully understand and anticipate the risks that come with returning to the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before opening up your workplace, employers should follow all measures possible to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their working staff. It is critical that employers, employees and the self-employed take steps to keep themselves and their teams safe.
As guidelines stand the government is very clear that workers should not be forced back to work and that workplaces must demonstrate they are “Covid Secure”.
It is vital that the health and safety of workers and visitors, and public health, should not be put at risk. All businesses should display a law poster in the premises or give workers the equivalent leaflet to ensure they are aware of the risks and how they as individuals can reduce the risk of transmission.
Here are 5 ways that your business should conduct in order to ensure that the workplace has a low risk level for COVID-19.
•Please note, this article should not be used as any form of legal guidance. Businesses should consult their own HR, H&S and Legal partners to create their own return to work plans.
1. Consider allowing staff to continue working from home. The governments advice seems to remain the same in that if staff can work from home, they should work from home.
2. Develop cleaning, hand-washing and hygiene procedures. Hand sanitiser stations should be installed around the work place in addition to washrooms.
3. Maintain 2m social distancing where possible. Mark out areas, stay in bubbles and avoid sharing work stations/equipment.
4. It’s a good idea to talk about plans with your staff e.g. when staff might return to the workplace; how staff will commute to work; all planned adjustments; and how you plan to administer a phased return.
5. Staff might be anxious about their safety and returning to the workplace. Encourage staff to voice their concerns and work together to resolve them. Active communication is key.