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Return-to-work advice during the COVID-19 pandemic

Businesses and organisations are gradually starting to reopen in the so-called “new normal” of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In order to do this, they are developing return-to-work strategies that will help their employees transition back to the workplace safely and comfortably.

We’re working with businesses across the UK to help them deliver safe working practices that will offer their staff a seamless experience as they come back to the workplace.

Here are a few return-to-work tips that could help your business improve the health and wellbeing of employees during what could be a difficult and stressful time.

Five steps to working safely during COVID-19

The government’s guidance about working safely during COVID-19 sets out five steps as the basis for taking practical actions for a safer return to work.

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before staff return to work, you should carry out a risk assessment in line with HSE guidance.

You should also consult with your workers or trade unions and share the results of the risk assessment.

2. Develop cleaning, hand-washing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of handwashing in the workplace and follow the NHS guidance on handwashing and hygiene.

Provide hand sanitisers in washrooms, as well as around the workplace, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly.

You should also enhance cleaning in busy areas and set clear cleaning guidance for toilets, as well as providing hand-drying facilities.

3. Help people to work from home

All reasonable steps should be taken to help people work from home. You can do this by:

  • discussing home-working arrangements
  • ensuring that staff have the right equipment and access to work systems
  • including staff in all relevant communications
  • looking after the physical and mental wellbeing of all your employees

4. Maintain two-metre social distancing, where possible

Where possible, people should maintain a distance of two metres between each other, so avoid sharing workstations.

Where possible, see all visitors by appointment and put up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance.

Use floor tape or paint to mark areas and, if possible, arrange one-way traffic through the workplace.

5. Where people can’t be two metres apart, manage the risk of transmission

If it’s not possible for people to be two metres apart, you should do everything possible to manage the risk of transmission.

You can do this by:

  • considering whether the activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keeping the activity time as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate people
  • getting staff to work back-to-back or side-to-side
  • staggering arrival and departure times
  • reducing the number of people each member of staff has contact with

Return-to-work advice for different types of work

The government advice also includes guides for different kinds of businesses.

These include close-contact services like barbers and beauticians, as well as construction businesses, factories, hotels, offices, shops, leisure facilities and more.

Whatever the sector and however a business decides to approach returning their staff to the workplace, both employers and their employees will want to ensure that they can return safely and comfortably.

If you’d like to find out how our occupational health coronavirus services can help to support a safe return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact the team at Fusion today.

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Categories: CoronavirusEmployeesHealth & WellbeingOccupational Health

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