HSE COVID- 19 Guidance for Employers
If you’re confused about how you can keep your workplace coronavirus compliant, then the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a list of recommendations. As an employer, it’s vital that you carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment to prevent the spread of the virus.
We’ve summarised several important areas to consider, as follows:
Controls for all common areas
Check you have proper controls in place for all common areas where people are likely to meet. This includes e.g. toilets and washroom facilities, kitchen areas and canteens, meeting rooms, and reception areas. Don’t forget to check smoking areas or any places where people tend to congregate when taking breaks.
Consider any pinch points, e.g. doorways, staircases, narrow corridors, and storage areas. You may need to limit the number of people in certain areas at any one time. Ventilation also needs to be considered – where possible, keep windows open, especially in more confined spaces. If you share a building with other tenants, then speak to your fellow businesses and landlord about how you can ensure a consistent approach across all shared areas.
Here are seven general controls to consider:
- Minimise contact between your employees by installing desk dividers or screens.
- Make sure you have communicated the rules clearly using posters and signage.
- Increase the number of hand-washing facilities and the availability of hand sanitiser.
- Identify any surfaces or objects that are frequently touched, e.g. door handles, stair rails, kettles or hot water urns, tables, and chairs.
- Keep desk spaces and other surfaces as clear as possible for cleaning purposes, e.g. create a clean desk policy.
- Limit the number of people working within the same workspace.
- Update your cleaning plan to ensure your premises are cleaned more frequently.
Handwashing and hygiene
When you’re reviewing hand hygiene and your cleaning plan, you must be aware that as an employer you have a legal duty to ensure safe access to “adequate toilet and washing facilities”. Consider every area that requires additional cleaning, waste disposal, and systems for people using the facilities, e.g. one in, one out, if social distancing cannot be maintained. In-office spaces, clean every workstation at the end of each working day.
Workstations and workspaces
Here are three tips to keep your work areas safe:
- Ensure people are working 2m apart wherever possible.
- Use paint or floor tape to create clearly marked areas.
- Avoid hot-desking where possible, e.g. sharing workstations.
If you’re unable to maintain 2m social distancing at your business premises, then there’s additional HSE advice. Review the necessity of certain activities, limit the occupancy and movement within these areas, and install larger screens to create physical barriers between people. Read the full HSE guidance…
It’s also important to make sure you have recently reviewed your emergency procedures, as well as incident reporting, First Aid, security, and Health & Safety. Our next blog will be looking at HSE advice on first aid during the coronavirus outbreak.
We are a COVID-19 compliant business, so if you need advice on how to keep your workplace safe to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, then call 07974 407988 for a chat.