Last reviewed 9 June 2020

Several organisations, led by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF), have come together to produce a new guide to creating a safe workplace during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The purpose of the guide is to help leaders and managers in businesses and organisations make their office workspaces safe for staff returning to work and reduce the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

In order to produce the publication, the CIEHF has worked with an expert panel of human factors consultants, scientists and clinicians — with contributions from the British Occupational Hygiene Society, Society of Occupational Medicine, Institute of Occupational Medicine, International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, Chartered Society of Designers, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The guidance suggests the process in achieving safe workspaces should take in seven key steps.

  1. Establish a Covid-19 response team.

  2. Understand how the virus is transmitted.

  3. Carry out a risk assessment.

  4. Engage staff.

  5. Encourage behavioural change.

  6. Implement risk control measures.

  7. Monitor, review and learn.

Additional areas to consider, according to the guidance, include:

  • mental health and psychological wellbeing

  • working from home

  • video etiquette.

Businesses are also encouraged to consider the workplace as a whole system so that in mitigating a risk in one part of the work system, unintended consequences are not created in another. For example, new ways of work could lead to increased workloads and then stress as well as reduced collaborative working.

In conclusion, the guide outlines important steps to identify and reduce risks while maintaining performance and productivity.

Creating a Safe Workplace during COVID-19 can be accessed via the CIEHF website.