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‘Stay Alert!’ Is your business considering a return to the workplace?

Is your workplace re-opening to staff?

Following government Covid-19 exit strategy announcements, you may bring staff back on site. Like you, to keep our staff safe, we have had to navigate and negotiate the risk of re-opening our collective space.

Whilst conducting our own risk assessment (and as part of our #Maywehelp campaign), we thought by sharing our journey, we might help our clients navigate theirs. First, as per points one and two below, we revisited and reassessed our responsibilities. Then in consultation with our team, we considered our answers to the following questions. Whilst we recognise that all businesses are different and appreciate the below is non-exhaustive we hope that sharing the following information is useful.


1 Remind

Continue to adhere to your legal responsibilities. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure a safe working environment.

Here is a 1-page guide to Employers Liability Insurance
during the Covid-19 Pandemic:

Please call / email us if you / your clients have any queries about employers liability insurance.

Top tip! As employers and insurers, our best advice is also to explore Directors’ and Officers’ Liability.


2 Reassess

Conduct a business/premises specific risk assessment, click on the link below for an example.

Click here to check for updated verions from the HSE NI >


3 Reconsider

Ask yourself the following questions…

Can you maintain and enforce a 2 Metre distance between staff at all times?

● Can Employees sit 2 Metres apart?
● In communal areas, what ‘2 metre rule’ visual cues will you implement? eg tape?
● Might you consider a one-way system of walking around the office?
● Can doors remain open during office hours (to avoid them being touched)?

What will your cleaning policy be?

● How will you ensure regular cleaning of desks, phones and communal areas?
● How are you going to appoint, monitor and record such cleaning?

Are Spaces shared with other businesses?

● Who maintains the 2 Metre distancing measures in shared areas?
● Are you satisfied with the measures in place?
● Who cleans the shared spaces?
● Are you satisfied with the regularity and the recording of the cleaning?

Employee Management/Engagement

● Will you be taking temperature readings as staff enter the workplace?
● Have you engaged with staff to see how they feel about returning to work?
● Are you making a return to work compulsory (even if staff are working from home)?
● How will you ensure staff abide by regular hand-washing?
● How will you record that you have relayed instructions to employees?
● Have you identified at-risk groups?
● How are you going to deal with concerns raised by staff?

Contingencies

● What plans do you have, if there is an outbreak of COVID in the office or your building?
● What contingencies do you have for re-introduced restrictions?

Final Word

We suspect, like us, you found the above journey somewhat sobering. Having worked through the above points, for the time being, we at PROTECT, have elected to continue to work from home. In considering our decision we found the below ‘Back to work’ resource helpful, we hope you do too.


Add Value

By sharing information, we can all contribute to helping one another navigate these new requirements. As further guidelines (and practical resources) become available to us, we will continue to share them with our community so keep an eye out for our content.

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