Feeling Covid-secure in the workplace?

Woodfines Solicitors

12th May 2020

We heard the PM’s speech on Sunday night and the daily briefing on Monday but what is the current guidance for a gradual return to the work place?

Below are the guidelines released on the 11th May referring to 8 work place types and what employers should seek to do to achieve what is being referred to as Covid-secure. You should assess it together with the guidance issued by the HSE who have sought to give direction too.

The eight sections are:

  • Construction and other outdoor work
  • Factories, plants and warehouses
  • Homes
  • Labs and research facilities
  • Offices and contact centres
  • Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
  • Shops and branches
  • Vehicles.

No easy task for any employer to navigate through this latest (albeit likely to be updated ) guidance, in conjunction with Health and Safety legislation and the particular circumstances of their business and the people working within it.

The Government need to recognise that the implementation of Covid-secure requirements may require additional investment in infrastructure and training at a time when many industries will themselves be getting back on their feet, whilst maintaining the ‘work from home’ principle alongside.

The PM has stated that businesses reopening under current lockdown restrictions will be subject to inspections to check they are keeping workers safe.

I have no doubt that employers will strive for the safety of their staff, despite the pressure they may feel for a speedy return to the new normal. Inspections were expressed by Mr Johnson who said that employers will not be allowed to “get away with” forcing staff to work in unsafe conditions.

There may of course be some unscrupulous businesses seeking to flout the rules but for the majority, a threat of enforcement is not needed, instead it is Government support, guidance and access to mentoring that will help regain confidence.

The latest lockdown measures refer to the roadmap of Covid19 recovery. This ‘map’ is being used at the very beginning of the journey of any lockdown relaxation. We should use it as just one of the tools to guide us to our eventual destination.

Whether a large or small business, it is essential to apply the specifics of your own operation, your personnel and premises to the guidance and keep it under continuous review.

Please remember that the Woodfines regulatory compliance and business support teams are on this journey with you and can provide tailored support to you and your business. Our regulatory team are available for consultations outside of usual office hours.

Our Covid 19 dedicated webpages and links to the Government and HSE’s guidance can be found here:

Covid-19 Updates 

Covid-19 Podcasts

Ask us

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Gov.uk

Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak – HSE

-Mike Hayward

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