Dear SMEs,

As you will have seen on the news, the government has released its guidelines to ensure that your workplace is “COVID-19 secure”.

We have been working hard to keep up to date with the information given from the government and have produced a COVID-19 H&S pack to assist you in maintaining a safe working environment for your staff in the workplace. It should be implemented as soon as possible.

Below is a summary of the government guidance for all workplaces:

1. If you can, work from home

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. For those who cannot work from home and for those whose workplace has not been told to close, the message is clear: you should go to work. Employers should communicate with their staff as to when their workplace will open.

2. Employers should carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions (if applicable)

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation. Employers need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions (if applicable), to establish what guidelines to are required to be put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website.

It is expected all businesses with over 50 employees to do publish the results on their website. Employers should also communicate the risk assessment to staff.

3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design their workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits. Employers could also consider 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.

We attach for your convenience the following documentation for you to use and where necessary (risk assessments) use the documents as a template for your own organisation:

Homeworking Guide
Draft Coronavirus Risk Assessment
NHS Handwashing Advice
Draft Homeworking Risk Assessment
COVID-19 Questions and Answers
COVID-19 Poster
COVID-19 Affected Case Cleaning Procedure
COVID-19 Visitor Questionnaire
DSE Self-Assessment Form
COVID-19 Social Distancing Guidelines

These documents will also be uploaded onto the H&S document portal for you to access.

For your convenience, please see attached below links to further guidance from the government for specific working areas which you should read through to familiarise yourself to ensure your workplace is as safe as possible:

Construction & other outdoor work
Factories, plants & warehouses
Working in people’s homes
Labs & research facilities
Offices & contact centres
Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
Shops & branches

Best wishes and stay safe!
The Wurkplace H&S Team