The UK Government has now issued 8 new guides on how to work safely during the pandemic as workers slowly start to rejoin the workforce or return to their workplace. But, what is Covid-Secure and how is this achieved?
What are the guides on?
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Other people’s homes
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- Shops and branches
Why have they been published?
The government is now starting to consider measures to restart the economy, whilst managing the local epidemic, these guides seek to mitigate the risks associated with bringing workers into workplaces from contracting the coronavirus. They act as an authority of best practice to mitigate risks and will likely be referred to by insurance providers, as well as the Health and Safety Executive.
Why should employers follow this guidance?
Employers have a duty to safeguard their employees, including protecting them from injury and illness whilst at work. If an employer was to bring employees into workplace conditions where they know their employees could be at significant risk of causing illness (such as contracting the coronavirus), they could be liable to claims from their employees for losses and suffering.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister has indicated that the guides on workplace health and safety have been drafted with input from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who will be making “spot-checks” on workplace premises. Non-compliant workplaces could be closed or fined.
Failure to implement essential risk assessments and provide basic protective equipment/measures could void employers’ liability or public liability insurance policies; you should consider consulting your policy documentation to ensure you continue compliance with your obligations.
Guidance from the HSE:
- Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak – a short guide
- Talking with your workers about working safely during the coronavirus outbreak
What is Covid-Secure?
The ‘status’ of being Covid-Secure is to have implemented the following five-steps:
- We have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment and shared the results with the people who work here
- We have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance
- We have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home
- We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace
- Where people cannot be 2m apart, we have done everything practical to manage transmission risk
This notice should be provided in the workplace: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb966c8d3bf7f5d3e24afb7/staying-covid-19-secure.pdf
Risk Assessment Templates
- Risk assessment examples based on a variety of workplaces: https://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies/index.htm
- Risk assessment and policy template (download):
- Health and safety policy template (download):