The UK Government has issued guidance documents to support certain sectors in England with returning to work.
The documents are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 and they cover:
- Construction and Outdoor Work
- Factories, Plants and Warehouses
- Labs and Research Facilities
- Offices and Contact Centres
- Other People’s Homes (supporting and/or working in)
- Restaurants Offering Take Away or Delivery
- Shops and Branches
As employees return from lockdown, the Government is seeking to help employers comply with their duty of care to conduct and implement suitable risk assessments. The objective is to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and resultant infection. The Government has published a notice for employers to display, confirming that the guidance has been followed.
For employers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, lockdown is extended for another three weeks. LAW recommend employers in these countries take advantage of this guidance to prepare in advance.
This guidance comes as the Government yesterday increased funding to the Health and Safety Executive by £10 million. This is purposed to increase numbers in the HSE's call handling centres, inspectors and equipment. Enforcement is gearing up.
LAW's advice to employers is simple: make sure you have a robust and detailed risk assessment, and that you can evidence the control measures implemented. Ensure the workforce is aware of the steps you are taking: the Government Guidance expects risk assessments to be shared with employees and expects all businesses with over 50 employees to publish their risk assessments online. In any event, failing to communicate your precautions with employees might mean that some refuse to return to work.
LAW's health & safety team are here, 24/7, to support employers with managing a safe return to work.