Whilst you cannot completely eliminate the risk of Covid-19, it is your legal responsibility to do everything reasonably practicable to minimise the risk to your staff and customers and as such, you are expected to carry out a risk assessment.
This guide looks at ways you can control the risks associated with Covid-19 to ensure the safety of your customers and your employees as we bounce back after lockdown. The information in this guide is true as of 29th June 2020. You can find the latest up to date guidance here.
Government guidelines require us to maintain a 2 metre distance from other people where possible. There are a number of steps that you as an employer can take to help your employees and staff abide by the social distancing guidelines.
To help employees’ social distance you could:
· Allow those who can work from home to do so
· Rearrange seating and tables to maintain spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions
· Using protective screening for staff in reception areas or spaces that see high footfall.
How social distancing can be adhered to at workstations:
Extra consideration should be given here
· Install screens to separate people from one another if work stations cannot be moved
· If it is not possible to maintain a 2 metre distance then provide PPE and extra cleaning equipment
· Use a consistent pairing system for those who must work in close proximity
To help customers’ social distance you could:
· Adopt an appointment only system
· Advise customers to arrive on time and on their own
· Limit the number of customers on site to ensure they can maintain a 2 metre distance
· Adopt a one in one out system where possible
Keeping safe on the move
Social distancing should be adhered to throughout the business, not just at places where people spend most of their time such as entrances & exits and canteens. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing, however there are steps you can take to support your employees in doing so:
· Use floor signage to help people maintain social distancing and adopt a one way flow around the premises
· Limit the number of employees or customers on the premises at one time
· Stagger arrival & departure times and breaks
· Manage use of high traffic areas including corridors, lifts, turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing
Cleaning and sanitising
Prior to opening your business back up to employees and customers, you should carry out a deep clean to decontaminate your working space and set out procedures for regular cleaning once you have reopened. Once open, there are a number of steps you can put in place to prevent transmission, including:
· Assign people to particular workstations to stop cross contamination
· Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses
· Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
· Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of shift.
· Provide additional handwashing facilities
· Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards
PPE and face coverings
Face coverings are not currently required in the workplace by law (unless the workplace requires the use of public transport). However, they are strongly encouraged in enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult. If you do chose to wear one it is important to use them properly and there are some points to share with employees who wish to wear them:
· Wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on and after removing it.
· Avoid touching the face or face covering
· Change the face covering if it becomes damp
· Change and wash the face covering daily
· If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully
Keep a record
If you have more than five employees you are legally required to document your risk assessment, however we recommend doing so no matter how many employees you have. You should also communicate and train your workforce on the changes implemented to help manage the identified risks.
To help stop the spread of Covid-19 you should maintain a record of all visitors on to your premises for 21 days.
As we slowly return to a new sort of normal, we must remember that the risk of Covid-19 has not been totally eliminated. That being said, if you do everything you can to manage the risk you should be able to bounce back from Covid-19 safely.