We all know that employers, have a duty of care to their employees. This means they have to make sure they’re prioritising the health, safety and welfare of their employees whilst they’re at work.
If you’re a business that has recently re-opened or are planning for this to happen soon, it’s important to understand that this duty of care is also a legal obligation, that you need to give careful thought to before you reopen.
If you’re an employer of 5 or more people, then you’re required by law to have a documented health and safety policy and a documented risk assessment. These documents will need to be reviewed as part of your plan to reopen during the Coronavirus outbreak. These documents are essential. They provide a framework to help you carefully assess the additional measures you might need to put in place to protect your employees, customers and their families.
Beyond legal health and safety requirements, government has made it plain it also expects every business or organisation opening during the pandemic to plan how they are going to reduce the risk of spreading the virus whilst operating.
Here are our top things to think about when formulating your plans:
- Do you have a written plan in place before re-opening that details the measures you’re taking to mitigate risk to employees and customers?
- Does your plan take into account the general government advice and any advice that is specific to your sector?
- Have your employees been provided with a copy of the plan?
- Have you provided additional training to your employees if you’re making changes to your operating model?
- If you have vulnerable employees (either themselves or within their household) have you identified them and considered if you need to adjust the new measures for them?
- What is the minimum viable number of employees you need at your business premises? If employees can work from home, they should be.
- Do you need to limit the number of employees or customers at your business premises at any one time? How will you achieve this – time slots, appointments?
- How will you manage ‘pinch points’ in your business premises – lifts, toilets, stairs – with the requirement for physical distancing?
- Do you need to re-think working practices e.g. split staff coming into the premises into shifts to reduce potential spread of infection?
- Which areas of your business premises or activities undertaken need additional hygiene measures, how will they be managed and who is responsible for them?
For more information or general and sector specific advice go to: