Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Health and Safety in an operational environment

How do businesses continue to operate safely?

Covid-19 has hit many businesses hard with many having to furlough staff in an attempt to ensure business survival and staff retention so that they can recover quickly when restrictions are lifted.

There is however a very real challenge for businesses that continue to operate – how do they do this safely to prevent the spread of the virus?  We have been working with a number of business that provide critical services and others that are still operational, as they have not been required to close, indeed the Government has stated that ‘it is important for business to carry on.’ 

The  government has set out steps employers and businesses should follow to protect their workforce and customers, whilst continuing to trade, including sector specific guidance on their website www.gov.uk

Some of the basic principles employers can implement include, but is not limited to:-   

  • make every possible effort to enable working from home.
  • implementing social distancing principles in the workplace 
  • consider shift working or staggering on-premises hours
  • limit the provision of food on-site encourage staff to bring their own food
  • support vulnerable/ extremely vulnerable staff as they follow recommendations on social distancing and shielding
  • staff who are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 should not travel to work
  • send home staff members who develop symptoms of COVID-19
  • remind employees to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
  • frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces

Many businesses will already be implementing these guidelines however it is important that they become embedded as best practice and staff behaviours become second nature.  And whilst adherence to the guidance will go some way to protecting staff and customers many businesses due to the scale and complexity of their operation may require further bespoke instruction such as

  • protocol for dealing with suspected cases of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • cleaning and waste disposal
  • food preparation and safety
  • contingency planning in the event of reduce workforce
  • developing a response in the event your supply chain is affected
  • building a contingency team to manage day to day operations in response to the day to day impact of COVID-19

We will continue to provide regular updates on our experiences working with and supporting businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak and what businesses will need to consider as we start to return to some semblance of normality.     

If you would like any further information, guidance or support during this difficult and unprecedented time please contact us. 

Information source: www.gov.uk

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