COVID-19 – Read our Health & Safety Guidance

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COVID-19

Health & Safety Guidance

Legislation

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on workplace Health & Safety Law in the UK.

Section 2 and 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 place a duty of care on employers to both employees and non-employees.

Employers will need to be able to prove under scrutiny that they fulfil these duties in relation to controlling exposure to or outbreaks of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Furthermore, section 3 of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to suitably assess the risks to safety and health of employees and non-employees and have ‘Risk Assessment’ documents drafted and communicated accordingly.

This is no different in respect of the ‘hazard’ of COVID-19 and so employers must draft suitable and sufficient risk assessments displaying their control measures in respect of containing the virus.

The Health & Safety Executive has also confirmed that certain outbreaks of and exposures to COVID-19 in the workplace with be reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Finally, specific guidance has been issued covering 5 key points for employers to return to work safely. These must be implemented by employers as soon as it is practical to do so.

Timeline of events for Legislative updates

3rd April 2020

  • HSE confirm outbreaks of/exposures to COVID-19 are RIDDOR Reportable
  • HSE Issue Statement confirming employers displaying non-conformance with COVID-19 control guidance will be acted against

11th May 2020

  • ‘5 Key Points’ guidance issued to employers looking to return to work
  • ‘8 Workplace Settings’ guides issued providing specific Health & Safety management guidance to certain trades, activities and sectors
  • It is announced that the HSE have received £14million in additional funding to support them in the policing of COVID-19 control measures in the workplace

Five Key Points

The five key points compiled by the government providing guidance for returns to work are as follows:

  1. Employees should work from home if they can. If they cannot work from home and the workplace is open, employees should go to work.
  2. An employer will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessment for their working environments. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and all businesses with over 50 employees are expected to do so.
  3. Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms
  4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, transmission risk must be managed. Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.
  5. Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

Workplace Guidance by Trade

Following on from the five key points, specific guidance covering 8 workplace settings have also been published.

These provide detailed instruction for the following environments:

  1. Construction and other outdoor work
  2. Factories, plants and warehouses
  3. Labs and research facilities
  4. Offices and contact centres
  5. Other people’s homes – care workers, domestic installations etc.
  6. Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
  7. Shops and branches
  8. Vehicles – couriers, hauliers, on site transit and work vehicles etc.

Full details of the guidelines can be found here.

The ‘COVID-19 Secure’ Poster

One element of the specific guides for workplaces is that employers are being asked to display a downloadable poster to show their employees, customers, and visitors to their workplace that they have acknowledged and followed the guidance.

Download Poster

COVID-19 Risk Assessments

We have been fielding numerous support calls from our customers requesting assistance in the development of COVID-19 control risk assessments for use in their workplaces.

Lighthouse customers who have an annual ‘Competent Person’ support contract with us benefit from this service as part of their agreement.

Draft risk assessments for certain trades are available for customers via the Lighthouse client portal. These include:

  • Offices
  • Construction Sites
  • Customer Dwellings

We do not plan on developing draft risk assessments by trade for environments such as manufacturing, warehousing and retail as every workplace will have its own intricacies to consider.

We are however available for consultation and have thus far developed specific procedural documents for customers in the following sectors:

  • High street retail
  • Food retail
  • Food manufacture
  • Offices
  • Manufacturing and Engineering
  • Construction
  • Warehousing and distribution
  • Building/Facilities Management and Landlords with common areas to control
  • Domestic services (deliveries/installations etc.)
  • Hotels
  • Student Accommodation

In addition to the risk assessment document we have devised a series of checklists, toolbox talks and employee declaration templates, all of which are available to customers on requires, or via the Lighthouse client portal.

Audits of Workplace COVID-19 Controls

In addition to the Risk Assessments we have been developing for customers, Lighthouse can also deliver specific COVID-19 control audit reports for your workplace.

Our audits take into account the relevant legal guidance specific to the trade and is tailored to your operational circumstances.

A written report is produced, evidencing external guidance on the matter for any authorities which may scrutinise control measures in the future.

The report will also include a prioritised action plan of any additional measures deemed appropriate for your workplace.

COVID-19 audits can be conducted via desktop or by a Lighthouse Health & Safety consultant physically visiting your premises so long as the requisite social distancing can be adhered to and all relevant Personal Protective Equipment be available.

Lighthouse customers who have an annual ‘Competent Person’ support contract with consultancy visit days as part of the service specification can benefit from a COVID-19 audit as part of their contractual agreement.

If you are a non-retained customer and would like for Lighthouse to provide a COVID-19 audit for your workplace, please contact us on 0845 459 1724 to discuss.

eLearning Training

As with any working procedure, it is important that employers compliment their risk assessments and safe working practices with relevant training.

Training increases the delegate’s awareness and knowledge of the subject matter and leads to enhanced culture in the working environment.

At Lighthouse we have a COVID-19 eLearning training course available which covers the following elements:

  1. Outlining the signs and symptoms of Covid-19
  2. Describing how Covid-19 spreads
  3. Explaining how you can help stop the spread of Covid-19

Review the Full Course Fact Sheet

The course is available as part of our eLearning offering and so customers with credit balances can utilise them to gain access.

If you do not have a credit balance, please contact the office on 0845 459 1724 for pricing and delivery.