Covid-19 – What do employers need to know in the new 50 page guidance from the Government?
The Government published its 50 page guidance on Monday 11 May 2020. For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home, wherever possible. Workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow the new Covid-19 secure guidelines.
The guidelines cover 8 workplace settings, namely:
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Other people’s homes
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- Shops and branches
The guidelines set out five key points which businesses should implement as soon as practicable and summarised as follows:
- Work from home if possible.
- Undertake a Covid-19 risk assessment. This is key and should be done in consultation with workers or union representatives. The risk assessment should be documented and reviewed regularly. The guidance states that if possible employers should publish results of the risk assessments on their website and will expect all businesses with 50 or more employees to do so.
- The key message is to maintain social distancing of two metres. Businesses may have to re-design works-spaces to facilitate this and consider markings on floors.
- Where workers cannot be two metres apart, then employers should manage transmission risk for example ensuring workers are working side to side or back to back but not face to face, using screens or barriers to separate people, stagger start and end times and implement a shift pattern
- Ensure robust cleaning and hygiene processes. This will include deep cleaning the building before it is opened, more frequent surface cleaning, and availability of hand sanitisers.
Undertaking a risk assessment is key and the government’s guidance is a good starting point. It is important to consult with workers and, if appropriate, trade union representatives as it will provide workers with an opportunity to raise any concerns that they have with returning to work and the measures that their employer is putting into place.
Contact Sejal Raja, Head of Employment on email@example.com.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.