As pupils prepare to return to school in England and Wales – the term in Scotland has already started – predictions are that we will see a corresponding rise in Covid cases. So, what should employers do to both manage and lessen the impact on their business?
So far in the UK, 42.1 million people have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, equivalent to 63.1% of the population. However, while those who are fully vaccinated are three times less likely to be infected by the virus, they can still catch it.
In September, the return of schools and colleges is usually when working parents can get back into their normal routine. There are predictions, however, that we will see another uplift in Covid cases, which could mean bad news for UK businesses.
The return of schools and colleges
The government is on the cusp of launching its back to school and college campaign. The announcement on 16 August stated that class bubbles will ease so that students can return to music, sport, drama and be with their friends. Fully vaccinated people, or those under 18, don’t have to self-isolate following notification that a close contact has tested positive for Covid-19.
Employers only need to look at Scotland to get an idea of what could face the rest of the UK in the coming weeks. Cases in Scotland have been doubling weekly following the return to classrooms, meaning more people may need time off work, causing further disruption to businesses. So, what can you do as an employer to protect your employees and your business?
Workplace Health & Safety
As an employer, since the start of the pandemic, it may feel that you have less control over the health and safety of your workforce. After all, most of your employees will likely have been working at home using their own equipment. But with the gradual return to the workplace for most employees, you have a statutory duty to provide a safe place of work for your employees.
At HR Solutions, we have a package of Covid-19 health and safety services and resources designed to help your business prepare for and manage coronavirus in the workplace.
To understand the risks in your workplace posed by the type of business you run, employees, visitors and customers, you’ll need to conduct a thorough workplace Covid-19 self-assessment. This will help you identify any work situations that can cause or increase the chances of Covid-19 transmission and identify what controls are required to reduce the risk. Our Covid-19 self-assessment survey will help you review the risk within your workplace and what measures you can put to protect your employees and visitors.
Covid-19 Risk Assessment
Every workplace should have a Covid-19 Risk Assessment in place that you frequently revisit to review, complete actions and update with the latest advice. Our Covid-19 risk assessment template can help you assess risks in your workplace concerning the pandemic and ensure your business is still Covid secure.
Daily Health and Safety checklist
Our Covid-19 workplace checklist is free to download and will help you spot any risks and introduce appropriate measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Visitor Declaration Form
Anyone who visits your business premises should sign a health and safety visitor declaration form to help reduce the potential risk of exposure and the spread of coronavirus.
What other steps you can take to protect your workforce
- Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing: Maintaining good workplace hygiene standards with regular cleaning and frequent handwashing can help reduce the chances of coronavirus spreading.
- Ventilation: Good ventilation is essential in helping reduce Coronavirus spreading. Air conditioning can help you improve the ventilation in your workplace while ensuring a comfortable temperature to work in.
- Talk to employees: Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, and all of your employees should be involved in the steps you take to manage the Covid risk in your workplace. Explain any health and safety changes you are planning and the reasons for them, and ask staff to share their thoughts and ideas.
- Working from home: If you still have people working at home, you should ensure they have the equipment they need to do their job effectively. Also, be sure to keep regular contact with them and discuss their wellbeing.
- Reintroduce 2m working distance: While it may not always be practical, reintroducing a 2m working distance could help avoid the spread of the virus if cases are increasing.
The pandemic continues to affect UK businesses, forcing them to reconsider their approach to health and safety. To keep your workforce as safe as possible, HR Solutions has a package of Covid-19 advice, services and resources to support your business through these challenging times.
For further advice or to find out how we can help your business, contact our team today on 0844 324 5840.