Last reviewed 12 May 2020
In its plan for gradually moving the country out of lockdown (see “Government publishes its COVID-19 recovery strategy”), the Government mentioned that it would be producing guides to help employers, employees and the self-employed to work safely during the pandemic.
Eight separate guides have been published which can all be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
Construction and other outdoor work
Factories, plants and warehouses
Working in, visiting or delivering to people's homes
Laboratories and research facilities
Offices and contact centres
Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
Shops, branches, stores or similar environments
Working in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles (although not buses and coaches).
In each one, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) points out that each business will need to translate the advice given into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on various factors including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.
“This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities,” BEIS warns, “and it is important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics.”
While the various guides contain practical advice aimed at the specific sector, there are a number of common themes including the continued importance of social distancing, the need to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment and protecting clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
Detailed advice is given on the value and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and on hygiene and cleaning both before and after re-opening workplaces.
“Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles,” BEIS points out. “You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.”