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Government Guidelines for returning to work during COVID-19

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The Government has released guidance for UK employers to assist with staff returning safely to the workplace.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), along with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), developed the best practice for safe ways to return to work.  Included in the consultation were businesses and unions, with the aim to give employers and staff confidence in returning to work safely at this time.

They key outcomes which businesses need to consider are:

If you can, work from home

Employers should continue to help staff work from home wherever possible.  For staff who are unable to work from home, and those where the workplace was not told to close, staff should go to work.  Employers and staff should be in contact with each other about when their workplace will open, if it is not already.

A COVID-19 risk assessment must be carried out (in consultation with trade unions or workers)

The risk assessment will provide employers with guidelines to put in place in their workplace.  Employers should, where possible, publish their risk assessments on websites, with businesses employing over 50 employees expected to do so.

Wherever possible 2 metres social distancing should be maintained

Workplaces may need to be re-designed to ensure the two metre distance is required.  Staggering start times, altering walkways to become one way, using different entrances and exits and considering other changes such as alterations to seating layouts in rest areas.

If 2 metres social distancing is not possible, the transmission risk must be managed

Barriers can be installed, to be used alongside staggered start times and new shift patterns.  Creating fixed teams will minimise the risk of transmission through reduced contact amongst staff.

Cleaning processes must be clear and enforced 

As with earlier guidance provided, workplaces must be cleaned more frequently than prior to COVID-10, all staff should be aware to maintain high standards with regards to the high risk/high contact areas, including keyboards, door handles.  Facilities should be provided at entrances/exits for either hand washing or hand sanitising.

See the link below for the guidance documentation in full:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

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