Home Coronavirus: News and Advice Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

by Jonathan Kearney

From Saturday 4 July many of the borough’s pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and barbers will be among the next phase of local businesses to reopen their doors to the public.

As lockdown measures ease and more traders prepare to open, Knowsley Council is sharing practical actions for local businesses to take.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “We all want to see life returning to normal, our town centres bustling and our local businesses back on their feet, but it is essential this is done safely. The infection rate in our region is reducing slower than in other areas and we don’t want to risk further spread of the virus and a second lockdown. The safety of customers and staff is paramount and I would urge everyone to be patient and show compassion as we adapt to new ways of doing things.”

Knowsley Council has provided some key points to help your business adapt and are also invited to use the Knowsley Chamber of Commerce website for regular updates and information. Marketing resources including posters are also available for employers to download and use.

Test and Trace
If a member of staff is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, including a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell, they should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 and stay at home until they have the test result. Further info about testing and the NHS Test and Trace programme can be found here.

Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
COVID-19 is a new risk that must be incorporated into workplace risk assessments. Employers must carry out a new COVID19 risk assessment if they have not already done so. Guidance is available on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

Remember to consult with your workers, and unions where applicable, as part of your risk assessment.

Develop and maintain cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:
• Encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
• Providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
• Frequently cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched objects and surfaces
• Enhancing cleaning for busy areas
• Providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers.
• Encourage staff to use tissues to “catch it, bin it, kill it” for coughs and sneezes

Help people to work from home
If staff are able to work from home, they should. Help employees adjust to working from home and maintain regular communication. Ensure they have the appropriate equipment and access to everything they need. Consider individual employees’ needs, for example anyone with childcare responsibilities, a long-term health condition or a disability. Help employees look after their physical and mental wellbeing.

Maintain social distancing
• Where possible maintain a distance of 2m between each person
• Mark out your place of business clearly and accurately so that it’s easy to follow
• Put up clear, simple signage so instructions are easy to follow
• If appropriate, arrange a ‘one-way’ system to avoid people having to cross each other
• Avoid sharing work stations.

Where 2m distancing is not possible
Where it’s not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:
• Considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
• Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
• Using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
• Staggering arrival and departure times
• Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’
• Switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible.