Important H&S information for returning to work

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With the government guidelines and advice available to all businesses who are getting ready to begin the process of staff returning to work, in various businesses such as pubs and restaurants from the beginning of July 2020, it is a good idea for employers to start putting together information and guidance for the staff for when the time comes.

Preparing things in advance and sharing the draft with staff is a good way of consulting with your workforce to ensure they know exactly how you will be monitoring the risk from COVID-19 when they do return.

The information is ever changing but the Public Health England website, along with the Government website offer very regular updates in line with any changes for each industry, and also provide guidance documents for industries on what they need to be looking for when putting a plan in place for re-opening.

From a Health and Safety perspective, Risk Assessing your premises/site is the main priority. COVID-19 requires more stringent control measures, especially in respect of cleaning and use of kitchens and canteens within a workplace. In line with the regular cleaning that takes place, you will need to look at implementing the following:

  • Toilets to be cleaned and wiped regularly –a rota should be put in place for these. Clean down needs to include handles of doors.
  • It is recommended that all cups, cutlery and any plates be brought in by member of staff and used by that person only. Kitchen wipe down and cleaning will need to be done regularly.
  • If you are providing PPE for staff, ensure you have enough on hand to allow staff to be able to get new when required – PPE needs to be sourced by you and risk assessed where necessary.
  • All areas need to be kept tidy and regularly cleaned down, with a suggested deeper clean at the end of the week using disinfectant, etc.

Social distancing will still play a big part in all businesses to stop the potential spread of the virus. This will go hand in hand with the following:

  • Ensuring employees are washing their hands regularly for 20 seconds.
  • Using hand sanitiser (where soap and hot water isn’t accessible).
  • Ensuring they are keeping their work area clean (this will still be the same for those working on site).
  • If anyone has symptoms, they need to let you know prior to coming into work and self-isolate from home
  • If they develop symptoms whilst working, then they need to go home and self-isolate immediately
  • If an employee has been in contact with someone who is showing symptoms or has since tested positive then they need to stay at home and self-isolate, even if they themselves haven’t got any symptoms.

All of these measures, along with your risk assessment will need to be reviewed regularly in line with any changes that are made by the government and shown to all staff so they are up to date and aware of any changes that have been made and what is expected of them and the business as a whole, no matter how small.

The Avensure Health & Safety team are happy to talk you through the health and safety procedures businesses need to have in place and how to start the process, so please contact us if you want to discuss your health and safety needs in more detail.

Please quote your Client Account Number on all correspondence and telephone calls. 24-hour client advice line: 0800 151 2935