Guidance on returning to work during Covid-19 for employers and employees
Government guidance on how to maintain safe working practices in the workplace
Updated 30 June 2020
We will keep this page updated with guidance and useful links on returning to work.
On this page you will find:
Government guides (published originally in May) on re-opening businesses are accompanied by information from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. You may also have had a letter from Havering's Environmental Health Officer; it is important that you take necessary measures to keep you and your workforce safe.
You will find a useful template for a risk assessment that you can adapt here HSE Risk Assessment Template
As an employer your responsibilities under certain Acts mean that you must ensure ongoing compliance with your legal obligations and these include the following:
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published very useful guidance on how to manage risk in the workplace, including risk assessments, training and re-organising the workplace. This can be found here https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm
In addition, there are 4 specific environmental health areas which will need your attention and possible action:
Legionella - flushing out and possibly treating your water system to eliminate bacteria that may have been building up if your premises have been closed. All the information you need can be found on the CIEH website https://www.cieh.org/media/4208/legionella-guidance-covid-19.pdf
There are several useful resources related to Covid-19 on the CIEH website https://www.cieh.org/policy/coronavirus-covid-19/resources/
Social distancing and hygiene - Government guidance by industry/type of premises has been published on measures employers must take to minimise the risks of Covid-19 transmission in the workplace. This includes the need for altered work stations, changes to shifts, hand washing facilities, provision of PPE, training and signage. Links to industry-specific guides can be found below.
Pest control - before re-opening you must check your premises for pest infestation and take appropriate action.
Statutory Tests - whilst your premises have been closed, some statutory tests may be overdue, such as fire safety tests, electrical equipment testing, lift maintenance.
You can contact Havering Council for more information and support on any of these matters on 0345 0170743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Specific Guidance on the use of PPE in the workplace - on the HSE website
Industry Guides on Safe Returning to Work
These 8 guides, developed in conjunction with industry, cover a range of different types of work and are designed for businesses that are permitted to open as of Wednesday 13th May 2020. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. The guides include useful notices and posters you can download.
Carolyn Fairburn, director-general of the CBI explained: “Unless people feel safe, employees won’t return, customers will stay away and the restart will falter, harming livelihoods and public services. This guidance will help. It gives firms a clearer picture of how to reopen safely and gradually.
“The guidance builds on the good proactive plans many firms have developed during lockdown. Excellent employee engagement, fast workplace innovation and transparency have helped many companies support livelihoods. It’s right to build on this.”
She added that the UK faces “months of change and challenge” and that these guidelines would need to evolve based on insight from the ground.
Jonathan Geldart, director-general of the Institute of Directors said: “It won’t provide every answer, no guidance can, but directors can use it to inform their risk assessments for operating in this pandemic.”
Consulting with your staff is essential to ensure that new procedures are followed correctly and that your employees feel safe at work.
The main page can be found here and links to each of the guides as follows:
This article by Personnel Today is a useful overview of the measures you could be taking https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/return-to-work-guidance-how-seven-workplaces-might-change/
Test and Trace Workplace Guidance
Managing coronavirus as we return to work will be a shared responsibility between employers, workers, suppliers and customers. Regular communication with your workforce will be essential in ensuring that everyone can work for you, trade with you and but from you with confidence. The full guidance is here
TfL Guidance to Employers
Wherever possible, businesses are asked to reduce dependency on the transport network. Measures that TfL is taking to keep passengers safe, and that you can take to reduce your employees' need to use public transport are detailed in this briefing for business here
Government webinars on several business and Covid-related issues can be found here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy-18685150848