Making your business Covid-secure
For detailed government guides to provide advice and support for different sectors, visit Gov.uk's guidance on working safely.
Although most legal restrictions have now been lifted, the following steps will help to keep your staff and customers safe:
1. Ensure that your COVID-19 risk assessment is still in place. Share it with all your staff as a reminder. Find out how to undertake a risk assessment. The Government's Covid secure guidance provides details on individual work settings and how to keep people safe.
2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your visitors to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
3. Encourage your staff visitors to wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces.
4. Avoid overcrowding. Consider how many people can be in each space while keeping a safe distance from others and continue with back-to-back or side-by-side working where possible.
5. Try to ensure that staff work with the same team every day and minimise external contacts. Use fixed teams or shift patterns to reduce the number of people each person comes into contact with. Minimise deliveries and frequency of handling and use the same pairs of people for load handling where more than one person is needed.
6. Consider ventilation. Read advice on air conditioning and ventilation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
7. Keep music and other background noise to a minimum to prevent people from speaking loudly or shouting.
8. Ensure that all measures are also in place in breakout and communal areas and remind staff of the importance of these. Many workplace outbreaks have been caused by staff socialising before and after work or in break times when social distancing measures have been forgotten. Try to encourage people to avoid car sharing to travel to work.
9. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all staff and contractors for 21 days. Visit Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.
10. Act fast if a staff or visitor shows symptoms. If a staff member; someone in their household or a visitor shows any signs of coronavirus (a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell) 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.
11. Support staff to self-isolate. Employers must not require someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. 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
If an employee is asked to self-isolate due to being a close contact of someone with Covid-19, they must continue to isolate for ten days even if they test negative themselves. Any employer asking an employee to break self-isolation to work is committing an offence.
12. If a staff member tests positive, you should 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
If more than one member of staff tests positive in the workplace please let us know on CovidOutbreak@gateshead.gov.uk so that we can offer advice.
13. Encourage staff to get vaccinated. Download Public Health England's vaccination toolkit for employers.
Guidance is available to help hospitality providers reopen safely:
If you are a business in Gateshead and would like advice or clarification on how to keep your workplace Covid-secure, 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 report any concerns you may have.