October 12th saw the government announce yet another raft of restrictions and tiered rules for the UK in respect of lockdowns, social gatherings and which businesses are still allowed to be open – so what does this mean for your business now? If you can stay open how do you ensure you don’t fall foul of stricter sanctions and end up with a hefty fine or worse?
Here we share our top advice for ensuring your business is still COVID019 compliant?
- Learn the rules and stick to them
- All retail outlets, schools and universities will remain open
- If you work in retail you must wear a mask
- Pubs, Bars & Restaurants in Tier 2 and below must offer table service and need to close by 10 pm. Pubs not serving substantial food must close in Tier 3 areas.
- If you or your staff work in an office. You should work from home if you can.
The Prime Minister confirmed that business owners who fail to meet COVID-19 standards face fines of up to £10,000.
So, what else can you do to reduce your risk?
When we attempted ‘new normal’ back in June 2020, millions of businesses undertook risk assessments and with the rules changing regularly, it’s almost certain that you now need to do this again. Here are a few tips straight from the Health and Safety Executive
- Make sure you complete a Risk Assessment in line with the latest guidance. This should be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Useful link – https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htm
- Consider how commonplace work situations could cause the virus to spread
- Think about everyone who is at risk – it’s not just your staff, but also your customers and anyone else who comes into contact with your business
- Consider how likely it is that infections will happen – do all your employees have children at school or teens at university? These are high-risk areas so they must be considered in your overall approach.
- Put things in place to remove the chance of infection. Consider things like wearing masks all of the time, staggered shifts and other ways to keep the risk low.
- Keep people separate.
Practice Social Distancing
Hands, Face, Space – you get it
- Keep your staff 2m apart at all times (where possible)
- Use floor markings and tape to create one-way traffic and distance
- Seat people side by side, not face to face and ideally completely separate
- Introduce screens in between workstations and communal areas
- Limit all meetings and gatherings
We’re now reliably informed that COVID-19 spreads via touch and on surfaces so additional cleaning regimes for all businesses are a requirement.
- Ask staff to regularly wash their hands
- Regularly clean and disinfection touch areas like door handles and taps and don’t forget common areas like the kettle, the printer or the filing cabinet
- Encourage high levels of hygiene by ensuring you provide soap and paper towels
Keep vulnerable workers safe
Under current government guidelines, people who are shielding can come to work (if they cannot work from home) but it’s still your responsibility as an employer to protect those vulnerable workers safe
- Consider a changed role for your vulnerable employee
- Provide additional equipment (PPE) to reduce their chances of catching the virus
- If their role allows – enable them to work from home wherever possible.
Talk to an expert
COVID-19 has provided an additional area of pretty unknown health and safety requirements for all businesses but help is at hand. Our expert team are available to help you to create a COVID-19 compliant workplace. Get in touch for a free consultation today.
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