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Government guidance on returning to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The Government has published guidance for employers covering eight sectors where businesses are allowed to be open/operational to help them get back up and running and facilitate workplaces operating safely. The practical steps for businesses focus on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

Key point 1
Work from home, but if this is not reasonably possible staff should go to work and speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.

Key point 2
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions to establish what guidelines to put in place.

Key point 3
Maintain 2 metres social distancing between people, wherever possible, which could include staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

Key point 4
Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk, e.g. putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising people contact or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

Key point 1
Reinforcing cleaning processes by ensuring frequent cleaning, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards and providing handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

Key point 5
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.

Last week, in anticipation of this development, the SM&B Employment and Business Immigration team sent out an update on ‘Post lockdown return to work’ which can also be accessed by following the link to our website. Details can also be found on our website about the Government’s decision to continue the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of October 2020.

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