Below are some steps you can be taking within your business, both to try and protect your employees and keep your company running safely during the current Covid-19 Pandemic.
- Ensure handwashing facilities are available, with soap, warm water and disposable towels.
- Set up additional areas with hand sanitiser, tissues and closed bins where it is not practical to wash hands regularly.
- Ensure everyone upon entering or leaving a specified area (an office, a workspace, a site, a canteen) washes their hands or sanitises them.
- Ensure all regularly used surfaces (door handles, work surfaces, shared phones etc) are wiped down regularly throughout the day with disinfectant or soap.
- Start up procedures to wash hands on arrival and exit of buildings/sites.
Management Training and Communication
- Ensure information regarding symptoms to look out for and the self-isolation guidelines is circulated and understood by the entire workforce via emails, toolbox talks, posters or formal training.
- Make sure Management are aware of your company policies regarding sickness and sick pay; including the governments new guidelines covering statutory sick pay from day 1 of self-isolation or illness.
- Encourage open discussion of worries or concerns amongst your employees and greater workforce.
- Training on hygiene processes using NHS online videos to be considered.
- Check to make sure all emergency contact information and necessary medical information is up to date for all employees/contractors
- Risk Assess any employees who count as being ‘At Higher Risk’ of becoming very sick. This includes anyone over the age of 60, pregnant women, any anyone with chronic medical conditions such as Heart Disease, Diabetes, Asthma, Lung Disease and the Immuno-compromised. The government suggests these people avoid crowds and stay home as much as possible
- Consider Workplace controls such as working from home or reduced customer contact.
Consider Home Working
- Where at all possible, start preparing or encourage working from home where possible. Laptops, online communications and remote working should allow for a majority of office based positions to do this.
- When employees work from home remember to consider the associated risks and ensure the relevant Risk Assessments and Online Training Courses are carried out e.g. Lone Working, Internet Security and Display Screen Equipment.
Alterations in Work Schedule
- Where home working is not possible, consider altering the workday to ensure some distancing is possible amongst the workforce:
- Stagger breaks and lunchtimes to reduce the number of people in close proximity in a canteen or similar Welfare area.
- Rearrange workstations where possible to increase distance between two workers to 2 meters.
Reduce External Visits/Visitors
- If your business involves visiting other homes/offices/sites regularly, consider switching to phone or online meetings to reduce the spread of people you come into contact with.
- Where working on customer premises is seen as essential or a core business need, request information on welfare, hygiene and segregation from the customer and work with them to implement it whilst work is undertaken on the customers premises’
- If you regularly have visitors to your office or site, consider if these meetings could also be completed online or postponed. Where this is not possible, ensure any visitors are aware of the hygiene processes you have implemented on site through the use of a site induction and ensure they are followed.
- Establish who needs to work at customers locations/offsite and consider reassigning tasks to Lower Risk employees in order to keep those at a Higher Risk Level safe.
- Consider the modes of transport used; travel by car when reasonably practical and avoid public transport.
- If your company travels outside of the UK, ensure you remain up to date on government guidelines when visiting those countries and ensure a plan is in place should a situation arise that prevents you returning in the short term.
Business Continuity Planning
- Ensure you have a business continuity plan in place should a key member or multiple key members of your staff fall ill or have to self-isolate.
- This could include ensuring multiple people are trained to carry out key roles or, where practical, keep members of staff have strong lines of communication established should they be unable to come in for work but are well enough to perform some/all of their duties from home.
- Avoid all key personnel attending the same meeting/sites where they would be in close proximity to each other in order to minimise the risks of all falling ill at the same time.
Government suggestions and regulations are changing rapidly. We will be updating this in line with changes however you can stay up to date by following the dedicated Government and NHS webpages: