The government has published new guidance specifically designed to help factories, plants and warehouses operate as safely as possible to protect against COVID-19.
The Prime Minister confirmed on 10 May for the first time since the lockdown began that those who cannot work from home should now be actively encouraged to go back to work.
The new guidance is based around five key principles:
- Employers should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home if they can
- Employers should carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with workers to establish what guidelines to put in place (businesses with more than 50 employees are expected to publish their assessment on their website)
- Workspaces should be re-designed to maintain 2 metres social distancing between staff wherever possible
- Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, transmission risk should be managed through additional measures such as splitting staff into fixed teams or ensuring they are not facing each other
- Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, and employers should provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers at all entry and exit points.
The full guidance document provides further detail on areas such as managing risk, deciding who should go to work and PPE, as well as a downloadable notice businesses can display on their premises to show that they have followed government advice.
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), commented:
“Safety is at the heart of business thinking. 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.”
In a separate announcement, the government also confirmed that any PPE purchased to protect against COVID-19 will be free from VAT for a 3 month period.
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