• Alexander Clifford

The UK Government's Plan for Reducing Lockdown Restrictions in the Workplace

In an exclusive report by Buzzfeed News, the documentation drawn up by minister Michael Gove and Business Secretary Alok Sharma, regarding getting people back to work has been released.

Regulations include guidelines on teams working in close proximity. Such as store workers working side by side or back to back, as appose to face to face and communicating via radio where appropriate.

The documents have been broken down into seven sections, split into different sectors of business:

> Those who work in other peoples homes

> Those who work in vehicles

> Hospitality Workers

> Factory Workers

> Outdoor Workers

> Shop Workers

> Office Workers

All businesses with more than 5 staff on their team must produce a written risk assessment of working conditions if they do wish to re-open before the end of the pandemic. However it has been predicted that on the upcoming announcement from the Prime Minister on Sunday, that it will be advised that any businesses who can work adequately from home, will be told they must continue to do so in order to continue the flattening of the curve.

Vulnerable individuals shouldn't attend any form of work that isn't from home until the pandemic. Those who fall under the "Extremely Vulnerable" shielded category will be banned from doing any work that isn't from home, and those who are non-shielded but vulnerable should be helped by their employers to work from home where possible.

The Guidelines state that "Employers and Employees must do everything they reasonably can to reduce risk."

General Guidelines for All Workplaces:

  • Staggering arrival / departure times to reduce crowding in and out

  • Providing Additional Parking or Bike-racks where possible.

  • Reducing congestion - for example, more entry points to the workplace.

  • Have separate exits for entry/exit where possible.

  • Hand wash / sanitary stations at all entry points.

  • Alternatives to touch based security devices such as keypads.

  • Storage for staff clothes and bags

  • Staff to change into work uniforms on site using appropriate facilities/changing areas

  • Washing uniforms on site rather than at home

  • Discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and sites

  • Reducing job and location rotation, for example, assigning employees to specific floors

  • Introducing more one-way flow routes through buildings

  • Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encouraging use of stairs

  • Regulating use of corridors, lifts and staircases

  • Reviewing layouts to allow staff to work further apart from each other

  • Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help staff maintain 2m

  • Avoiding employees working face-to-face. Working side-by-side or facing away from each other where possible

  • Using screens to create a physical barrier between people where appropriate

  • Staggering break times to reduce pressure on the break rooms, using outside areas for breaks

  • Using protective screening for staff in receptions or similar areas

  • Reconfiguring seating and tables to maintain spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions

  • Providing packaged meals or similar to avoid opening staff canteens

Those who work in other people’s homes

  • Discussing with households ahead of a visit to ask that a 2 metre distance is kept

  • Asking that households leave all internal doors open

  • Identifying busy areas across the household where people travel to, from or through, for example, stairs and corridors

  • Limiting the time spent in close proximity to no more than 15 minutes.

  • Bringing your own food and drink to households

  • Limiting the number of workers within a confined space

  • Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity

  • Allocating the same workers to a household where jobs are repetitive

  • Where multiple workers are in a home, creating fixed teams of workers who carry out their duties in those teams

  • Identifying areas where people need to hand things to each other and find ways to remove direct contact

  • Allocating the same worker to the same household each time there is a visit, eg. cleaners

  • Using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents

Those who work in a vehicle

  • Reducing the number of employees at base depots or distribution centres at a given time

  • Scheduling times for the collection of goods

  • Loading onto vehicles without interacting with driver

  • Reducing job / location rotation

  • Finding alternative solutions to two-person delivery

  • Minimising the contact during payments and exchange of documentation

  • Single person / contactless refuelling where possible

  • Physical screening if safe

  • Using a fixed pairing system if people have to work in close proximity

  • Making sure vehicles are well ventilated

  • Ensure regular cleaning of vehicles

  • Using non-contact deliveries wherever possible

  • Scheduling to limit exposure to large crowds and rush hours

  • Revising pick-up and drop-off collection points

  • Non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows

  • Maximising use of electronic paperwork

Hospitality Workers

  • Bar areas must be closed

  • Seated restaurants and cafés must be closed

  • All food and drink outlets to serve takeaways only

  • Allowing access to as few people as possible into kitchens

  • Minimising interaction between kitchen workers and other workers

  • Putting teams into shifts to restrict the number of employees interacting

  • Spacing workstations 2m apart as much as possible

  • Minimising access to walk-in pantries, fridges and freezers, with likely only one person being able to access these areas at one point in time.

  • Minimising contact at “handover” points with other staff, such as when presenting food to serving staff and delivery drivers

  • Hand sanitiser for visitors

  • Avoid crowded reception areas, staggering check-in and check-out times

  • Carrying out contractor services at night

  • Considering room occupancy levels to maintain social distancing, especially in dormitories

  • Minimising contact between kitchen and food preparation workers and delivery drivers

  • Using front of house staff to serve customers in walk-in takeaways, with tills 2m away from the kitchen and ideally separated by a wall or partition.

  • Creating a physical barrier between front of house workers and customers

  • Using contactless card payments

  • Limiting access to premises for people waiting for takeaways. Asking customers to wait in their cars

  • Asking customers to order online, on apps or over the telephone

Factory/Warehouse Workers

  • Ask for who it is essential to be on site. Office staff should stay home

  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site

  • Providing equipment for employees to work from home safely and effectively, for example laptops

  • Servicing and adjusting ventilation systems

  • Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment

  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces

  • Clearing workspaces and removing waste at the end of a shift

  • Cleaning procedures for equipment, tools and vehicles after each shift and after each use of shared equipment, for example pallet trucks and forklift trucks

  • Hand sanitiser for employees to use boarding vehicles or handling deliveries

  • Regular cleaning of reusable delivery boxes

Shop Workers

  • Defining the number of customers that can follow 2m social distancing within the store

  • Taking into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas

  • Limiting the number of customers at any one time

  • Suspending or reducing some customer services

  • Encouraging customers to shop alone

  • Informing customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times

  • Using outside premises for queuing

  • Communicating with nearby premises to manage shared queueing areas

  • Shopping centres should take responsibility for regulating the number of customers in the centre

  • Continuing to keep customer restaurants and/or cafes closed until further notice, unless offering hot or cold food to be consumed off the premises

  • Providing clear guidance to people on arrival

  • Creating social distancing “champions” to demonstrate social distancing guidelines to customers

  • Staggered collection times for customers collecting items

  • Setting up ‘no contact’ return procedures

  • Cashless refunds

  • Keeping returns separate from displayed merchandise

Outdoor Workers

  • Only workers deemed necessary to carry out physical work or supervision should physically attend

  • Changing layouts to let workers work further apart

  • Using screens to separate people from each other

  • Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity

  • Avoiding employees working face-to-face. For example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other

Office Workers

  • Office staff should work from home if at all possible

  • Employees in roles critical for business can go in

  • Employees who cannot work from home due to home circumstances can go in

  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site

  • Monitoring the well-being of employees who are working from home

  • Keeping in touch with off-site employees including welfare, mental and physical health and personal security

  • Review layouts, line set-ups or processes to let employees work further apart

  • Arranging for employees to work side-by-side or facing away from each other

  • Screens to create a physical barrier between people

  • Floor tape or paint to mark areas to help employees keep to a 2m distance

  • Avoiding use of hot desks and spaces

  • Limiting use of high-touch items and shared office equipment

  • Using remote working tools, to avoid in-person meetings

  • Avoiding transmission during meetings, avoiding sharing pens

  • Only necessary participants should attend meetings

  • Hand sanitiser in meeting rooms

  • Holding meetings in well ventilated rooms

  • Limiting or restricting occupancy in group interaction spaces

  • For areas where regular meetings take place, using floor signage to help people maintain social distancing

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