Covid19: New Guidance in the workplace
The Government has now issued six sector-specific Covid guidance notes, setting out what will be considered as reasonable precautions in the workplace for step 4 of the roadmap, after 19 July in England.
Main points to note:
- Work from home advice is now gone. Plan for your workforce to return in a controlled way over the next few months. There is no rush, and you need to consult with individuals, especially if they are at higher risk of infection (those previously shielding).
- Covid19 secure risk assessment is no longer specifically required. The risk from Covid should be contained in the normal H&S risk assessment. There is no rush to do this if you already have a good Covid secure assessment, as this will cover you for now.
- All reference to social distancing have been removed. The guidance now recommends “Putting in place measures to reduce contact between people, particularly between customers and workers”, with specific reference to using fixed teams or “cohorts”, using screens or barriers to separate people from one another, or facing sideways, or away from one another instead of face to face. We also recommend that you keep some capacity measures for areas such as meeting rooms in place for now, especially up to 16 August when the rules on self-isolation change.
Some businesses already have significant numbers of employees self-isolating, as society opens up and they have more social contact.
Remember that the rules on sending people home if they have symptoms or have to self-isolate still apply and still have legal force.
The guidance now recommends you take immediate steps to identify close workplace contacts yourself if you have a positive case, and do not wait for test and trace to do so. These contacts should immediately isolate for 10 days, until the rules change on 16 August.
The guidance notes continue to put strong emphasis on cleaning, hand hygiene and the provision of good natural ventilation. You should ensure all these controls remain in place.
If you would like any further advice and support from SML, please contact us today.