9 Practical Tips for a Safe Return to Work

It’s Wednesday 13th May 2020. The day our Government are encouraging a phased return to work.

Are you ready, is it safe?

We are finding that many organisations are completely unprepared to return safely. Everyone employer needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19. It’s not just about giving the premises a clean and dusting off the cobwebs….

As an employer you also have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk everyones health and safety. This means you need to think about the risks that you face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

Where the Police have been enforcing the lockdown now we will see enforcing authorities, such as the HSE or your local authority spot checking workplaces and identifying employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to socially distance, where possible. The actions the HSE can take include the issuing of enforcement notices to help secure improvements.

There are many areas to review and consider in your Covid-19 Risk Assessments and the opening of premises such as:

  1. Legionella – has your site been closed for a period of time? have you considered the safe flushing of water systems, testing for legionella and how will you achieve this?According to the World Health Organization, the death rate may be as high as 40-80% for immune-suppressed people who do not receive treatment and 5-30% for those who do. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/legionellosis


  1. Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning – Check if these need servicing or adjusting


  1. Fire Safety  – Some organisations may have completed essential works to protect employees do you need to review your Fire Risk Assessment and also ensure employees, visitors and contractors know the actions to take in the event of a fire alarm sounding?


  1. First Aid Arrangements – Have you enough cover and have you ensured that your First Aiders are on site and not furloughed or working from home? do your First Aid trained responders know what is expected from them should they need to perform CPR or provide other assistance? have you provided extra PPE for them to use and trained them in this, have they been updated on the latest guidelines for delivering CPR in line with Covid-19?


  1. Signage – have you completed a sign audit, what new signage will you require?


  1. Managing Employees, Contractors and Visitors –are you able to provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene facilities for people on arrival. Will you need visual aids or controlled access arrangements?


  1. Meetings – Can these be conducted safely following social distancing guidelines of 2m away from each other? We’re hearing that a lot of people are fed up with zoom meetings and want to get back to the normal but it must be safe to do so.


  1. People – The heart of the business. How will you support peoples Mental Health, social distancing in communal areas, the clinically vulnerable people and those at high risk – have you assessed them individually and have you arrangements in place to provide support as needed?


  1. Hygiene – Have you reviewed cleaning arrangements, hand washing and hygiene procedures in line with current guidance?


These are just a few areas to consider when returning to work.  If this is causing you a headache then let’s talk. Our specialist safety advisors can take away the pain and complete suitable and sufficient Covid-19 risk assessments that will help you open safely and in compliance of current guidance.

Essential 6 are on hand to now safely provide training in Legionella, Mental Health, First Aid, Health & Safety, Fire Safety or more then make contact and we can discuss how our experts and highly engaging trainers will help you and your teams. This training can be provided on your site, our site or via our virtual learning environments.

Essential 6 specialist safety advisors assist organisations such as builders, care homes, manufacturers, hotels and leisure facilities to achieve health and safety compliance. We have a real passion for safety and take the headache away by acting as your specialist safety advisor. We work hard to provide policies that reflect your work activities, procedures, safety method statements and risk assessments to keep you safe, healthy and compliant.

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