Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

5 new UK government tests workplaces must pass before workers can safely return

Most workplaces have now re-opened – meaning you can return to work.

Thousands of people people have already benefited from the feeling the camaraderie you get from being back in the workplace alongside colleagues again.

Others have found it much easier to solve work problems and switch off when the day is over, allowing for a better work/life balance.

But in order for you to return to your workplace, your employer must make arrangements for you to work safely.

The UK Government has set out five steps to working safely which all businesses must follow, covering everything from cleaning and handwashing to travel and social distancing…

Firms must now:

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

     

  • carrying out a risk assessment in line with the  HSE guidance
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  • consulting with your workers or trade unions
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  • sharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website
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2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:

     

  • encouraging people to follow the  guidance on hand washing and hygiene
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  • providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
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  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
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  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas
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  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
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  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers
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3. Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

     

  • discussing home working arrangements
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  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
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  • including them in all necessary communications
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  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing
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4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

     

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
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  • avoiding sharing workstations
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  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
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  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
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  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible
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5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it’s not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

     

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
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  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
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  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
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  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
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  • staggering arrival and departure times
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  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

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For more information on keeping your workplace safe click here.

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