The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has published eight separate pieces of guidance for employers, employees and the self-employed covering safe working during the pandemic. The guidance has been prepared with input from businesses, trade unions and industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England and the HSE. Public health is however devolved, so the guidance should be considered along with local public health and safety requirements and any relevant legislation.
Common themes, irrespective of sector, include the need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with unions or workers and the duty to reduce risk in the workplace to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking protective measures. As would be expected, this repeats the now well-known messages of increased handwashing and cleaning, using home working as a first option where possible and social distancing. All the guides follow the same structure with tailored advice and practical examples where relevant.
The guidance covers working safely in:-
- construction and other outdoor work;
- factories, plants and warehouses;
- labs and research facilities;
- offices and contact centres;
- restaurants offering takeaway or delivery;
- shops and branches;
- other people's homes; and
- in or from a vehicle
A poster is also available for employers to exhibit in work places. It is anticipated that the guidance will be updated regularly.