May 12, 2020
Authored by: Rebecca Harding-Hill and Mark Kaye
Yesterday, the UK government published eight different workplace-specific guidance documents on measures that employers need to take to “help get Brits safely back to work”. The guidance is tailored for different workplace environments, such as offices, factories, retail shops etc.
Whilst the basic position remains that employers should take all reasonable steps to help their staff work from home, where this is not feasible and the employer has not been told to close, staff should be encouraged to come back to work – as long as there is a ‘COVID-19 secure’ environment put in place by the employer.
In order to take steps to ensure that the workplace is COVID-19 secure, employers are required to take the following key steps:
- consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union (or, if there is not one, a representative chosen by staff) about a risk assessment to be carried out in order to establish what specific guidelines need to be to put in place;
- share the results of the risk assessment with the workforce – the UK government has stated that it expects all employers with over 50 workers to publish this data on their website;
- display a standard form notice in the workplace to demonstrate that the employer is following the guidance;
- re-design workplaces to maintain (wherever possible) social distancing by, for example, ensuring a 2 metre distance between staff; staggering working hours and opening up more exit and entry points;
- if it is not