Coronavirus updates

The information provided below is correct as of the publish date.

Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Latest Government advice

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced new measures to help combat the rise of Covid -19. He asked office workers “to work from home if they can” and, where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail, he said people should continue to attend their workplaces. In answer to a question he added:

“Where people must go into work for their job, their mental health, their wellbeing or whatever it happens to be, then of course they should do so. What we are saying is that they should work from home if they can.”

The Govt have now published official guidance.

This states:
Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.

Many of our customers are in the process of planning a Covid-19 secure workplace. For those who need their team in the workplace these plans can and should continue. In assessing who needs to be in the workplace and who can work from home, organisations should consult with their employees taking into account:

  • The requirements of the business for the work to be carried out in the workplace
  • The impact on the business of work being done from home
  • The impact on the mental health and well-being of employees
  • The practical steps that can be put in place to enable employees to work from home

Our guidance is that, once again, working from home is the preferred option to help control the spread of the virus. If staff need to return to work, then you should ensure that you have taken the following steps recommended by the Government in its most recent advice:

Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. If you need support in creating or updating your COVID-19 risk assessment for your business get in touch and The Health & Safety Dept can help.

Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your visitors to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.

Ask your visitors / customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your visitors are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.

Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your staff and visitors can follow.

Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.

Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all staff and contractors for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.

Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a visitor has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

Four more things to be aware for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments:

Arrange work spaces to keep staff apart. Consider using barriers to separate people and introduce back-to-back or side-by-side working.

Reduce face-to-face meetings. Encourage calls or video conferences to avoid in-person meetings with external contacts, or colleagues outside someone’s immediate team, wherever possible.

Reduce crowding. Consider how many people can be in each space while remaining socially distant, and consider using booking systems for desks or rooms. Reduce the maximum occupancy for lifts.

Communicate and train. Make sure all staff and visitors are kept up to date with the safety measures.

If you would like to discuss how the recent government updates may impact your business from a health and safety perspective, get in touch with our team of health and safety experts today.

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