In reaction to the latest government guidelines on COVID 19; businesses are starting to bring employees back into the workplace but what safety measures should you have in place? See our top 5 tips below.
Carry out a COVID 19 risk assessment
Your COVID 19 risk assessment should follow HSE guidance the same as the other risk assessments you have in place in your business. This will be your key document for safety in the workplace during COVID 19. You should identify the hazards that working during COVID 19 presents, the risks this causes and what control methods you are going to put in place to reduce the risk as far as is reasonably practicable. Using a risk rating will help you measure if your control methods are reducing the risk as low as you need them to be.
You should consult with your workforce when completing the assessment, getting their input and suggestions on how best to work within the government guidelines. This will not only help complete your risk assessment, but allowing your employees to be involved may offer some reassurance about the prospect of returning to the workplace at this time.
If you have more than 50 employees the government have specified that you must publish your assessment in your website.
Help people work from home
If you can’t ensure safety in the workplace or if you are going to continue with employees working from home you need to ensure they have the right equipment and access. Remote log ins can suffer technical difficulties and they need to know where the support is to fix things if it goes wrong!
Include all your staff in regular communications about the business, updates on what teams are doing and how the business in doing. Don’t let the tendency for out of sight out of mind creep in.
Keeping everyone involved and communicating regularly with them will help to look after their mental well-being. Asking how people are in catch ups and actively listening to their responses will help you spot the signs that maybe someone is struggling and you can offer those staff help or support.
Review and develop hand washing and hygiene procedures
Hopefully everyone is well trained in robust hand washing procedures by now; but as a business you need to ensure you provide the correct facilities to be able to wash hands effectively; hot water, soap and hand towels.
Providing extra hand sanitiser in key locations will also help and you should encourage any visitors to use this on arrival at your premises.
Have a look at your cleaning schedules and where necessary increase the number of times you clean certain areas or ‘touch points’ in the building.
Having signs up reminding staff and visitors of the need of personal hygiene will help to enforce the measures you are putting in place.
Maintain social distancing
You may need to put in place some physical markers to ensure social distancing; whether this be tape or markings on the floor or signage detailing the maximum occupancy in a room. You may also need to change the layout of work-spaces to ensure people are 2 metres apart.
Hot desking should not take place and you should avoid sharing equipment.
Having a procedure for visitors; including only allowing essential deliveries/meetings and not allowing them into the main staff area of the building will also help reduce contact.
If not possible to social distance, reduce transmission risk
If after doing all of the above you still are unable to ensure complete social distancing then further preventative measures you can put in place are:
- Keep activity as short as possible
- Use screen to separate work areas
- Sit back to back or side to side
- Stagger working hours
- Fixed team working to reduce contact
If you would like any support in ensuring you are providing a safe working environment for your staff in line with the COVID 19 guidelines please get in touch.