Whenever you may be able to return to work, things may not be the same as they were before this pandemic started, and it is important to make sure that all necessary safety measures are in place before any work commences so your business can work well after lockdown. Our mission at Work Safe and Well is to ensure that no-one is harmed by the work that they do, so we have put together ‘Five things you need to know before you open up for business after lockdown‘.
We have also put together a FREE poster on how to keep your workplace safe that you can get here
The government have issued new guidelines on whether businesses can reopen safely after the lockdown period. There are 8 guides covering a range of different types of workplaces. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, so depending on your type of business, you may need to use more than one of these guides to complete your risk assessments and decide what you need to do to keep your staff and customers safe. There is different guidance for educational and childcare settings and public transport operators.
For Shops and high street branches of banks etc, the guidance can be downloaded from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
To help your business work well after lockdown, here are five things you need to consider.
Five questions to ask before you open up for business after lockdown.
1. Are all work tasks really necessary?
Can your staff work well after lockdown doing all the necessary tasks to keep your business running effectively? Can high risk tasks be done in a different way or even be put on hold until the risk of exposure is reduced?
2. How can your workplace run effectively with safe social distancing and hygiene measures in place?
Is it possible or practical for people to stay two metres apart whilst carrying out all their work tasks? Can they work well after lockdown without sharing equipment? How about customers and any visitors or delivery staff?
3. Who really must be on site and who can work from home?
Can your business tasks be done offsite by your employees, for example web-based work or administration tasks? The guidance clearly states that jobs should only be completed in the workplace if they cannot be carried out at home, so you should consider how many people can work on site to enable safe social distancing.
4. Have you shared the findings of your risk assessment with your team?
Have you communicated your hygiene and social distancing procedures to all staff and also to customers and delivery drivers, so they are all protected and do not put anyone at risk?
Does everyone understand their role (this may have changed), and any new reporting procedures if they are ill or have to self-isolate?
5. Have you thought about how to deal with an outbreak, suspected infection or emergency situation where the safe distancing or hygiene procedures can’t be used?
How will you deal with staff who may be put at risk? Remember you have to report any work-related COVID infections under RIDDOR just like any other reportable illnesses or injuries.
Things to remember
- A sneeze or cough can spread infected droplets of saliva many metres around you, even talking can be a source of spread. Coronaviruses can last on many different types of surfaces for different times.
- Immunity to COVID-19 is still unproven and an effective vaccine is not yet available.
- Any safe systems put in place after your risk assessment must be followed by everyone at all times, especially on breaks.
- Don’t forget the other safety measures you need to do. If your business has been closed for many weeks, it is important to do all the necessary checks and maintenance of equipment and flush all water outlets as well as the necessary cleaning before starting work.
- If the risk assessment identifies PPE as a protective measure, remember this is the last line of defence and it should always be worn correctly and disposed of safely or decontaminated so that it doesn’t cross-contaminate anyone when being removed or stored.
You can find out more information on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak here.
We can support you with return to work concerns
If you need support with concerns about opening up your business after lockdown, please get in touch to see how we can help you and your team. We have also put together a FREE poster on how to keep your workplace safe that you can get here