How to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace
While many restrictions have been lifted in the UK, COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important that we remain cautious. By practising key behaviours, businesses can protect their staff and customers, and reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the workplace.
To support this, the Government’s working Safely guidance has been updated.
We have listed below the priority actions for all sectors.
1. Review your business’s risk assessment, share it with your staff, keep it updated
As part of your risk assessment, you must:
- Identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Think about who could be at risk – this could include workers, visitors, contractors and delivery drivers
- Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
- Identify the controls needed to reduce the risk
You should also consider the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. You can find out more about how to do a risk assessment on the Government’s HSE dedicated risk assessment page.
2. Provide adequate ventilation to help blow Covid-19 particles away
You can do this by using:
- Natural ventilation – fresh air comes in through open windows, doors or air vents. This is also known as ‘passive airflow’, or
- Mechanical ventilation – fans and ducts bring in fresh air from outside
By letting fresh air into your workplace, you can help manage the risk of spreading Covid-19. You can find out more about the Government’s full guidance on ventilation and air conditioning.
3. Clean more often, especially surfaces that people touch a lot
As well as making sure you arrange regular cleaning, you can also provide hand sanitiser for your staff and your customers to use and ask them to clean their hands frequently.
4. You must let your staff self-isolate when they are legally required to
If you know that one of your employees is self-isolating, you must not allow them to come to work. It would constitute an offence to ask them to do so or let them do so.
5. Enable people to check in at your venue to support NHS Test and Trace
If you haven’t put this in place yet, you can find full guidance on which venues in England should display the official NHS QR code poster and information on how to create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue.
6. Communicate and train
Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures. Make sure the safety measures you have adopted are clearly communicated on your website and social media channels if you have those. This way, your customers and partners know what to expect before visiting your venue or your office.
In addition to the priority actions, there are several behaviours the Government encourages that will support keeping your business safe:
• Whilst there is no legal instruction to work from home, offices should plan a gradual return over the summer.
• Encourage the use of face masks in enclosed and crowded spaces.
• Social distancing guidance no longer applies, but you should consider measures you can put in place to reduce contact between people, particularly between your staff and customers.
• If you operate in large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to a large number of people from other households, you are encouraged to use the NHS covid pass as a condition of entry. You can find more information about how to use the NHS COVID Pass.
For further guidance and advice you can visit gov.uk/workingsafely.
Photo by Tim Douglas published on Pexels