Risg Solutions offers professional customised health, safety, environmental, quality and fire management solutions. Our goal is to support your company in complying with your legal and moral duties, whilst also positively impacting your financial and business performance.
We cover Cardiff, Carmarthen, Swansea, Neath, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales & Borders..
Keeping staff safe when they return to the workplace:
Taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing
As the country slowly eases lockdown restrictions, businesses are either going, or preparing to go, “back to work” and many have continued operating throughout lockdown, trying as best they can to adhere to social distancing. Everyone within in a workplace has a personal responsibility to comply with the two-metre requirement to ensure that the risk of transmission of coronavirus is reduced and the Welsh government have issued their guidance on the “reasonable measures” business owners should take, but can these measures be implemented without compromising existing health and safety standards? Any reasonable measures taken should command staff’s confidence that due consideration has been given to the level of risk that they face. So, how are these measures translated into real life and how can you facilitate them in your organisation…
Ideally, if an employee can work from home without disruption to the business, this should be considered, but where this is not an option then a reduction in the number of people working on the premises at any one time, perhaps by staggering shifts/rotas is an alternative. Otherwise, it will be necessary to ensure that space between staff is increased, for example indicating spacing with markings on a production line leaving two-metre gaps between people. It may also be beneficial to erect barriers between people where suitable or implement the wearing of personal protective equipment where guidance says it is necessary.
Minimising the level of interaction within the workforce is key to maintaining social distancing. Consider the provision of rest space, is there a congregation of workers at a certain time perhaps during coffee or lunch breaks? Could additional space be provided, or breaks staggered. Making adjustments to the way that work is done, to reduce contact should be assessed and perhaps creating a time gap between shifts, to ensure people can arrive and leave without congestion at the point of shift changes.
Increased hygiene is imperative. You must ensure there are adequate handwashing facilities as well as taking steps to remind the workforce of the importance of hygiene, allowing time for the
washing of hands well, for at least 20 seconds with soap after any close contact operations.
There will be circumstances in which it is not possible to take reasonable measures. But employers will be expected to undertake an assessment before concluding there are no reasonable measures that they can take, and there are no blanket exemptions from this legislation. It is an important principle that employers undertake an assessment of what reasonable measures can be taken and to keep this under periodic review.
Finally, the most important measure to be taken is to ensure that anyone within your workforce exhibiting symptoms should stay at home to isolate themselves from others and stop the spread of the virus. Staff should have a level of comfort that they are not going to be penalised for necessary sick leave; if not then we are risking a second spike in infection and possibly further lockdown!