The Government has finally published detailed guidance of what it expects from employers in various work settings and 5 key points it expects employers to implement as soon as practical:
“1. Work from home, if you can
All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.
2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.
3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.
4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.
5. Reinforcing cleaning processes
Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.
A downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.”
The Government has produced 8 specific workplace guides, which set out its expectations in detail, including one for ’shops and branches’ and another for ‘offices and contact centres’.
These guides give a clear framework of objectives and steps for employers to take to meet those objectives. They specifically state that “Employers have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures.” Workplaces failing to meet the necessary standards will have no more opportunities to make excuses.
A Note On Face Masks
Not only has TSB paid a £500 bonus to all front line staff, it has now announced that staff will each be provided with five washable face masks. Lloyds Bank is trailing TSB in this area. If TSB can sort out basic protective equipment – Lloyds can too!
In light of the published guidance, we will be sending out further surveys in due course to ensure that all workplaces are complying. In the meantime, if you have something to report, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members with specific concerns or problems can also contact the Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).