Although the government is keen to get people back to work, you should only re-open your workplace if you can do so safely.
Official guidance on COVID-19 workplace safety
The government has created several guides covering a range of different types of work. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
If you're an employer, you must carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment to show you're taking reasonable steps to protect your workers from coronavirus.
If you've 5 or more employees, you'll need to write up your risk assessment so you can demonstrate what safety measures you're taking.
As part of your risk assessment you must:
- Identify what work activities or situations might cause the virus to spread from one person to another and act to remove these activities or situations, if possible.
- Think about who could be at risk, such as employees, visitors, members of the public or contractors.
- Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed to the virus.
- Talk to your staff about the risk assessment and communicate the outcome to them.
- Periodically review your risk assessment in light of changes to work activities or guidelines.
You may also find it helpful to:
How to make your workplace safer
You may wish to consider some of the following ideas for making a workplace safer.
Make sure tasks are completed using the minimum number of employees.
- Consider staggering start and finish times to reduce risks at entrances, exits and on public transport.
- Provide hand washing facilities at entrances and exits and in washrooms. You should provide either hot running water with soap and paper towels or hand sanitiser.
- Consider displaying posters which remind your employees of good handwashing techniques. View COVID-19 posters and resources.
- Try to organise the work area to enable people to maintain a 2 metre distance from others.
- Consider having 2 metre markings on the floor or put up signs to remind your employees to stay 2 metres apart.
- Only allow your employees to move around the workplace for essential reasons and restrict the number of people who use the lift at the same time.
- Review all shared areas such as kitchens, toilets and breakrooms. If there isn't enough space for people to stay 2 metres apart in these areas, think about either staggering break times or create additional spaces for your employees to have a break or eat their lunch.
- Make sure any contractors who visit your workplace know to obey social distancing guidelines while on your premises. You could also speak to contractors before they enter your building to make sure they don't have any coronavirus symptoms.
Read the government's 5 steps to working safely.
Cleaning your workplace
Read some tips which make help you keep your workplace clean.
- Decide how frequently you need to clean the work areas, equipment and vehicles. If equipment is shared between people or between shift changeovers, these should be cleaned after each person has used it.
- Clean communal areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and staircase rails more frequently than you used to.
- Use disposable cleaning products to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings. You should throw these away after one use.
- Use a disinfectant for cleaning and follow the instructions on the bottle.
- Avoid creating splashes when cleaning.
- Steam clean upholstered furniture and mattresses.
- Throw away items which are heavily contaminated with body fluids if they can't be cleaned by washing.
- Clean areas if you think someone with coronavirus symptoms may have passed through. This includes corridors, bathrooms, stairwells, door handles and telephones.
Read the government cleaning advice for businesses on GOV.UK.
Using personal protection equipment (PPE) in your workplace
PPE protects the user against health and safety risks at work.
Where you're already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.
Disposing of your business waste
Here's some advice for disposing of your business waste during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Check that the company you hire to remove your trade waste is operating as normal with the same number of collections.
- Make sure your waste company supplies you with enough waste bins.
- Store your waste securely while waiting collection.
- PPE used by your employees, such as face masks or gloves, should be bagged and then placed in your business' general waste bin.