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Employment law for employees & Employment law for employers

Coronavirus: Top tips for ensuring a safe workplace post-lockdown

As we move past the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is considering how to relax lockdown restrictions and get people back to work. Our Employment team provides their top tips for ensuring a safe working environment.

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The Prime Minister recently confirmed that we are past the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. The government is now considering how to relax the current lockdown restrictions in an effort to restore economic activity and allow people to return to their place of work.

In doing so it is important that organisations do whatever they can to protect their employees because they have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment and an employer who fails to provide adequate measures to protect their workforce could face legal action from employees if the relationship of trust and confidence is broken as a consequence.

Here are some top tips:

  • enhance hygiene procedures and the use of protective equipment where necessary;
  • social distancing in offices by restricting the number of staff coming in and staggered shift times that will also alleviate over-crowding on public transport;
  • asking those with underlying health conditions or those who can effectively work from home to continue doing so;
  • keeping internal doors open wherever possible to reduce contact with door handles;
  • physical alterations to offices such as removing desks to maintain a two-metre gap and installing screens around desks in open plan offices;
  • encouraging staff to travel to work on foot or bicycle where possible;
  • drawing up a coronavirus risk assessment before allowing staff back to the office to comply with their health and safety obligations.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is currently preparing concrete guidance for workplaces in different sectors of the economy regarding steps they can take to adequately protect their workers and we await the final published guidance.

If you have any questions on this topic or any other, please contact our free 30 minute Coronavirus Employment Advice Helpline and we can help you to consider the options available to you and your business.

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Alastair Ward-Booth

Trainee Solicitor

alastair.ward-booth@collyerbristow.com