During these unprecedented times, it is important for businesses to operate where it is safe to do so. One of the key messages from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech on Sunday evening was that people who can’t work from home should be “actively encouraged” to go to work. However, it is important to return to work safely and in a controlled/risk assessed manner. The latest government guidance is designed to help control the risks associated with running your business.
The guidance covers eight workplace settings permitted to be open and includes downloadable notices for employers to display to demonstrate they are following official guidance including:
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Homes – Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments.
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- Shops and branches
- Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.
Business secretary Alok Sharma said: “This guidance provides a framework to get the UK back to work in a way that is safe for everyone. These are practical steps to enable employers to identify risks that Covid-19 creates and to take pragmatic measures to mitigate them.
“And as we are able to reopen new sectors of the economy, we will continue our collaborative approach working with a wide range of stakeholders, to provide guidance for additional workplaces.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the employers and their staff need to work together to make sure those returning to workplaces feel safe, adding that everybody who can work from home should continue to do so.
The government has made available an extra £14 million for HSE, equivalent to a 10% increase in its budget, for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment if needed.
You can read the latest guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic from the Government here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19