So, how do you as a UK employer who is understandably keen to get back to maximum working capacity, set about ensuring staff and visitors to your office are safe? For your own sake, and those of your employers, you will obviously want to do this, of course.
And, recognising this willingness to comply with the new safety measures, the government has come up with a list of guidelines on how to help you achieve what, let’s face it, may prove a very onerous task for some employers. The guidelines are vague, rather than detailed, but there are common principles around hand-washing and what constitutes social distancing, for example.
Without being too dictatorial, the government is asking employers to do “everything reasonably practicable” to ensure you minimise any health risks. But it does go on to admit that it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.
Be warned too: employers that fail to carry out a reasonable risk assessment or introduce any measures at all, including social distancing could face a hefty fine or, worse still, end up in prison with a two-year sentence!
Carry out a risk assessment
Current government advice is that the first stage for any large employer (those with five staff or more) is to carry out a written risk assessment. Those who have less than five staff or individuals who are self-employed don’t need to produce a written assessment. Meanwhile, for those that do, the government have published a document outlining what to include in your risk assessment.