The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, it is critical that businesses take a range of measures to keep everyone safe. We understand how important it is that you can work safely and support your workers’ and customers’ health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus.
24th July 2020 – what’s changing?
From 24th July all persons are required to wear a facemask or other suitable face covering whilst visiting shops and branches. As of now, the legal requirement coming into force on Friday 24th July is for all Visitors/Customers to your premises to wear a facemask or suitable face covering, or entry can be refused.
There is no mandatory requirement for your staff to wear a facemask/face covering but in doing so is considered Best Practice and is highly recommended.
Shops and branches include all retail stores. This includes food retailers, chemists, hardware/homeware stores, fashion shops, charity shops, betting shops and high street gambling arcades, car dealerships, auction houses, antique stores, retail art galleries, photography studios, gift shops and retail spaces in theatres, museums, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites; mobile phone stores, indoor and outdoor markets, craft fairs, and similar types of retail. The guidance applies to those currently open and will help those that are currently closed consider what their operations need to look like when they are allowed to open. Branches include bank branches, post offices and other open money businesses.
To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate Covid-19 Risk Assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes Covid-19 into account or completing a risk assessment but failing to put sufficient measures in place to manage the risk, could constitute a breach of health and safety law. Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence.
Employers have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. In the context of Covid-19 this means protecting the health and safety of your workers and customers by working through these steps in order:
Ensuring workers and customers who feel unwell stay at home and do not attend your premises.
Increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
Make every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government.
Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity can be redesigned to maintain a 2m distance or 1m with risk mitigations where 2m is not viable.
Further mitigating actions include:
Increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).
Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, even through redesigning a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.
You should ensure that additional steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission.
Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.
In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to Covid-19.
You can find out more and check for further updates at: www.gov.uk/workingsafely
If you need help with your Covid-19 Risk Assessment or require further assistance, please contact us. We can also provide you and your teams with our Intuity e-Learning product providing further Health & Safety training and Covid-19 awareness to help maintain your employee training competencies.
Stay safe, stay positive and please remember, KVF are here for you during these troubling times, every step of the way. All you need to do is ask!