Covid-19: working safely during the coronavirus outbreak

Latest Government announcement

On 22nd September the Government announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England. Details about what you can and cannot do from 22nd September can be found here.

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak, it is important for businesses to operate where it is permitted and safe to do so. Most businesses are now permitted to operate if covid secure measures are in place but a few businesses must continue to remain closed

Up to date government guidance on what you can and cannot do can be found here. The Stroud District is currently in Covid Alert Level medium which means that there are no new implications for businesses. However, you should think about the implications for your business if this situation were to change. 

Face coverings are required to be worn by customers in shops, including food shops and supermarkets, and in hospitality settings, including restaurants, bars, and pubs (except when eating or drinking). They are also required to be worn by members of the public in entertainment venues, hair and beauty salons, visitor attractions and community centres and on public transport networks. (Please note that a transparent face shield is not a substitute for a face covering that covers the nose and mouth).

Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.

For the time being we strongly discourage the holding of events in the District especially if large numbers of people are expected to gather. If you are planning to hold an event in the coming months you should inform all relevant agencies as soon as possible by submitting a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) event notification form. Your risk assessment and event management plan must include the steps you will take to control the transmission of coronavirus and should be submitted well in advance.

The Government and Health and Safety Executive have produced guidance designed to help employers and self-employed work safely and control the risks associated with coronavirus infection. The guidance explains measures you can take to help you carry on working safely during coronavirus (sometimes known as being ‘COVID secure’), for example by putting in place social distancing measures, staggering shifts, providing additional handwashing facilities and how to talk with workers to help them stay safe.

Detailed guidance is available on GOV.UK for the following specific work settings:

and HSE has produced further advice on

Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak - a short guide (PDF)

A guide to the steps you should take to help manage the risks of coronavirus in your business. These include taking measures to work at home where possible, maintaining social distancing, cleaning and hygiene.

Talking with your workers about working safely during the coronavirus outbreak (PDF)

By consulting and involving people in steps you are taking to manage the risk of coronavirus in your workplace you can:

  • explain the changes you are planning to work safely
  • make sure changes will work and hear their ideas
  • continue to operate your business safely during the outbreak

You should also consult with any trade union represented in your workplace. They can provide a great deal of practical support and help ensure a smooth transition to a new way of working.

Resources

  • Stroud District Council has produced a checklist to help employers identify the main controls required but this needs to be considered alongside the detailed guidance above.
  • Many trade and industry groups (including Stroud Chamber of Trade) and trade unions have also produced excellent guidance. 
  • BBFA COVID business reopening safely checklists – Available to download from the Growth Hub Website.

Putting in place plans to work safely

These guides should not be used on their own but as a starting point to consider what you can do. Work will almost certainly need to be organised differently from how it was before the lockdown. You will need to carry out your own risk assessment and set out the control measures you have put in place to keep employees and others safe.

You should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and the government expects all employers with over 50 workers to do so).

Regulating health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic

Stroud District Council’s enforcement officers and HSE’s inspectors will continue to have regulatory oversight of how employers are meeting their responsibilities to manage the coronavirus risk in the workplace. Managing the risk presented by coronavirus is not an option, it is a legal requirement.

HSE mainly deal with health and safety enforcement in factories, construction sites, transport, farms and educational establishments whereas local authorities cover the retail, catering, entertainment and service industries.

Our enforcement officers will continue to work closely with businesses to put practical measures in place to help people get back to work safely, while remaining compliant with public health and health and safety at work requirements, and we will check that appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from COVID-19.

Support for employees and members of the public

Where a worker or visitor has a genuine concern about health and safety which cannot be resolved through speaking with their employer or trade union, they should contact the relevant enforcement agency, either:-

the Council's health and safety team, by emailing environmental.health@stroud.gov.uk

(For offices, retail, catering, hospitality, warehousing, entertainment and leisure premises)

or the HSE, through https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm

(For factories, construction sites, farms, education and transport)

 

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