5 Steps for a Safe Return to the Workplace

Both the Scottish and British governments have recently outlined phased strategies for ending the restrictions currently in place as part of the COVID-19 public lockdown.

With many businesses now contemplating an eventual return to their place of work, the team at HR Services Scotland has been advising many of our clients on Health & Safety measures to take when planning to reopen their workplace.

Here are some of the practical actions we would advise businesses to take based on 5 main steps:

Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

  • carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
  • consulting with your employee’s to capture all possible risks and get their views on what else can be done to make the workplace as safe as possible
  • sharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and it is encourage that the results are published on your website

Develop cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning by:

  • encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
  • providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly i.e. phones, computers, door handles, keypads etc.
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers

Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help employee’s work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements
  • ensuring they have the right equipment i.e. laptops/computers, mobile phones etc. if required
  • including them in all necessary communications
  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing, checking in with them regularly i.e. video/call

Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • avoiding sharing workstations
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment or via video/phone call only if possible

Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it’s not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens/barriers to separate people from each other or utilise a face mask
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
  • staggering arrival and departure times

We have also prepared this video below detailing some of the things that companies should be keeping in mind when approaching the return to work:

 


If we can help you with this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610