First guidance on how to prepare for return to the workplace

The government has published initial guidance on how it envisages the UK emerging from the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. This includes guidance on how organisations should aim to make offices 'COVID secure'

part of the new sign for business premises

The government have introduced a new sign for businesses to show they are "COVID secure" (Image: gov.uk)

By Annette McGill

Not ending lockdown, but starting on the road...

The Prime Minister told Parliament on May 11th that the coronavirus lockdown was not ending. He said: "We're not ending the lockdown, we have to be very very clear with people that the measures remain in place.”

On the same day, the Government published a roadmap for how the UK will exit the COVID-19 lockdown. The 65-page document, entitled “Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy”, provides a step-by-step overview of the order in which the lockdown will be lifted. 

Preparing workplaces

The Government also published initial guidance for employers and employees working in offices. The document, entitled 'Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)', is designed to help organisations think about how to prepare for the return to work. It has been drafted with input from unions and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The document offers some practical considerations for managing COVID-19 risks in office environments - but it is not very specific.

The guidance says organisations should carry out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in the workplace as soon as possible.

Organisations should share the results of this risk assessment with their workforce. If an organisation has more than 50 employees, the results of the risk assessment should be published on the organisation's website.

The government has also developed a sign for for organisations to display in their buildings. The sign informs people that the workplace is "COVID secure".

The Government says the document will be updated. 

Spot inspections?

Boris Johnson told Parliament that business premises would have to be "COVID secure". He said:  "We are going to insist that businesses across the country look after their workers, are COVID secure, COVID compliant. 

"The Health and Safety Executive will be enforcing it and we will be having spot inspections to ensure businesses are keeping employees safe.

Find more information about risk assessments.