How to Make Your Workplace Safe
As life slowly returns to some sort of normality, you might be encouraged to reopen your workplace and begin returning to work, instead of working from home all week. It’s important for employers to make sure the workplace is safe for staff to come back, which you can achieve through a number of different methods.
Whether you work in an office environment or another setting, it’s key that you feel comfortable at work and can do your job effectively without risk. So, if you’re contemplating reopening your workplace, here is some helpful advice for staff to follow.
1. Carry out a risk assessment
Employers have a lawful duty to protect employees from harm. This includes identifying what could cause injury or illness, how likely it is that it could happen and how you can eliminate or control the hazard.
You can carry out a risk assessment to ensure you fully understand the possible risks, which is especially important in a post-coronavirus world. For most small businesses, this is a straightforward process and the steps you need to take are simple.
2. Develop new hygiene and cleaning processes
Having a clean workplace has never been so important. Both the employer and employees should increase the frequency of both handwashing and cleaning the surfaces within the workplace. There should be access to hand sanitiser and, if necessary, you may wish to wear PPE.
There should be enhanced cleaning for high traffic areas, and clear guidance on the toilet areas to reduce the area becoming too crowded.
3. Home working opportunities
If it’s possible in your line of work, you should still offer the opportunity to work from home for staff. You may work with vulnerable people or those with underlying health conditions who do not wish to come back to the workplace just yet, and so it’s important they aren’t left by the wayside.
Helping people to work from home can include making sure they have the right access and ensuring they are still involved in all important meetings and announcements.
4. Maintain a safe distance
Whatever your line of work, it’s important that you’re able to maintain a safe distance from colleagues and clients. Avoid sharing desks, and mark areas to help people stay at a safe distance from each other. You may wish to create a one-way system to walk around the workplace, to avoid close contact where possible.
If you do often see clients or customers, you might wish to put an appointment system in place so you can manage the number of people in the building.
5. Managing transmission risk
It’s not always possible to keep a 2 metre distance from others, depending on your job. In these cases, it’s important to have additional measures in place to keep everyone safe. This can include putting up clear screens to act as a barrier, as well as wearing face coverings.
You could also ensure that staff arrive and leave at different times of the day, to avoid any crowding. Even the smallest differences to the working day, such as this, could make a big difference to those trying to get back to some sort of normality.
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