Following on from the Prime Ministers speech on Sunday, the government has now released further guidance for workplaces. This guidance is specific to different working environments and can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres.
Whilst the overriding message remains that staff should work from home if they can, the guidance addresses the steps employers should take where individuals return to work. It covers various aspects including social distancing in the workplace, hand washing and hygiene, meetings, communal areas, cleaning and commuting.
Employers have responsibilities under health and safety law to maintain a safe workplace and system of work. All employers should carry out risk assessments and, given publication of the guidance now, the process of assessing risk should ideally be undertaken as soon as possible taking into account the government advice and reflecting the new risks.
There is a risk of claims arising from health and safety rules, so care should always be taken. The more transparent the process the less likely criticisms will arise. Guidance on risk assessments can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/
For more help in relation to return to work issues call Lawspeed on 01273 236236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org