28/07/2020 Guidance for employers – Covid safe workplaces
To bring workers back to work employers must ensure that the workplace is Covid safe.
Employers must carry out a Covid risk assessment and enforce safe working practices, dealing with any non compliance.
For myHRdept’s office we have (amongst other things):
- Re-angled desks and reduced their density, so that desks face windows rather than each other. Where we had 6 desks in the main office we now have 4. It means we’ve lost a meeting room.
- Brought in a watercooler – people can use their own reusable cups (decreases need to use communal kitchen)
- Asked staff to bring in their own food for the day to avoid using communal kitchen if possible
- Put sanitiser station by the kettle/fridge and microwave area with alcohol wipes for post use clean
- Put sanitiser outside of loos
- Instructed staff to clean loos after use with sanitiser provided
- Designate one loo as ladies only the other as unisex (used to 1 X M & 1 X F, but as we are 11 F and just 1 M that was unbalanced.
- Staggered start times so that people don’t all arrive at once
- Increased homeworking to decrease the overall number in the office at any one time
- Opened 2 X additional potential entrances/exits
- Encouraged staff to use outside rest/eating areas
The various government and HSE guidance also suggests employers consider perspex screens, face masks and 1 way systems where this is possible.
Covid workplace risk assessment materials
There are a number of HSE and government resources available to help employers carry out their risk assessments and plenty of suggestions for practical measures that might be considered. We have included some of the links below.
A blank general risk assessment form can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/risk-assessment-template-and-examples.htm
HSE also has a template with Covid specific questions: (NB don’t just copy this and write your Co name on the top of this – the content comprises questions and pointers to be able to complete the blank template) https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/assets/docs/risk-assessment.pdf
Some general HSE suggestions for making workplaces secure: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/Covid-secure.htm
The HSE page on vulnerable workers: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm
And lastly HSE’s page with more detailed suggestions for making workplaces secure: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing/index.htm
There’s also a handy .gov tool for assessing your own particular workplace which after a few questions leads to a suggested actions list for the particular activities you carry out. It is worth going through that prior to completing your risk assessment: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening