Guidance to help businesses operate safely and comply with current regulations or requirements
Making your business covid-secure
Carry out a risk assessment
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. You are required to carry out a COVID 19 risk assessment and put in place suitable measures to make your workplace COVID secure. Details of your Risk Assessment should be shared with your staff and be available for inspection by enforcement officers. The Government has issued Covid secure guidance that you must follow to keep people safe.
Additional information managing risk and how to carry out a risk assessment can be found on the HSE website.
Keeping your workforce safe
Where possible, you should take all reasonable steps to help staff to work from home. If your staff are working from home you should:
- discuss home working arrangements
- ensure they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
- include them in all necessary communications
- look after their physical and mental wellbeing
- if working from home is not possible, you should help to ensure that social distancing is maintained as much as possible:
- putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
- avoiding sharing workstations
- using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
- arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
- using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
- staggering arrival and departure times
- reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using 'fixed teams or partnering'.
Hygiene and cleaning
Good hygiene and cleaning are important steps to reduce the risk of infection. Guidance on cleaning and hygiene including what to do if a customer or employee has symptoms or tests positive is available on the Gov.uk website.
What to do if a member of staff develops symptoms or is contacted by Test and Trace
If a worker develops symptoms, they should be sent home and encouraged to request a free test.
Once they have ordered the test, they'll be asked by the NHS Test and Trace service to provide details of anyone who they have been in close recent contact with. This will not automatically be all their co-workers, but anyone who meets the definition of a close contact.
You should help your employees self-isolate if they:
- have coronavirus symptoms and are waiting for a test result
- have tested positive for coronavirus
- are a member of the same household as someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
- have been in close recent contact with someone who has tested positive and received a notification to self-isolate from NHS Test and Trace
You should then go through your risk assessment and consider if:
- anyone else needs to be sent home to isolate, if they have been in close contact (less than 2m) without additional precautions
- any additional cleaning is needed
Working in other people's homes
Where it is necessary to work in other people's homes - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople - you can do so:
- to fulfil a legal obligation
- for work purposes (see guidance on working safely in other people's homes), or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- for the purposes of education or training
- for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider or for the purposes of supervised activities provided for children
If you need further advice
If you are a business in Gateshead and would like advice or clarification on how to trade and adapt under the current Covid-19 restrictions or implement social distancing within your workplace, send us an enquiry and we'll get back to you.
We ask that all businesses and residents help us slow the spread of infection and adhere to the national guidance, reporting any concerns you may have where businesses which should not be trading are doing so, or not complying with requirements around the use of face masks, social distancing or self-isolating.
Our officers are working with Northumbria Police and other agencies. They're authorised to take action against businesses which breach the requirements outlined within the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 and will do so in a proportionate manner.