As businesses reopen, employees return to the workplace, or indeed, change their working arrangements, ensuring the safety of employees and visitors must, and should, be of the utmost priority for all employers across all sectors. The Government have coined the term, a Covid secure workplace but what exactly does this mean?
Covid secure workplace requirements
Before reopening a workplace employers must be able to demonstrate they have:
- Completed a Covid-19 risk assessment and shared with employees
- Increased cleaning, hygiene and hand washing facilities and procedures are in place
- Supported those who can work from home to do so
- Taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance between staff in the workplace
- Managed the transmission risk where a 2m distance cannot be maintained
Risk assessments are absolutely key
Ensuring a Covid secure workplace can only start with a new workplace risk assessment. Risk assessments are absolutely key in identifying all possible risks of the virus, infection and transmission and ensuring control measures are in place to mitigate the risks.
Focus on 2m distancing and hygiene
Although it may seem a little basic, social distancing at 2m, working from home if you can and increased cleaning and hand hygiene are, for most sectors, the most effective control measures for the virus. The use of PPE in environments it would not normally be used is not routinely recommended for managing the virus risk. The exception to this is where the 2m distance cannot be maintained.
Sector specific recommendations
Despite the general guidance regarding 2m distancing and increased cleaning and hand hygiene, each sector and workplace will present its own unique risks and potential challenges. For some, alternative solutions to the 2m distance will need to be sought. Always seek the advice of a qualified, professional health and safety provider who can ensure your specific sector and workplace needs have been assessed and managed.
Reassurance for staff and visitors
Businesses are also being encouraged to display the Government’s Staying Covid Secure poster to reassure visitors and employees the appropriate actions have been taken. Hand hygiene and regular washing posters may also be useful in reminding employees and visitors of the need for increased hygiene procedures.