Guides & Advice

Government publishes new safe working guidance for employers

Published: 13th May 2020
Area: Employment

Government publishes new safe working guidance for employers

Following Boris Johnson’s update to the nation on Sunday 10 May, and further updates on Monday 11 May, the government has published a set of guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed return to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Recognising that the issues will be unique to different work settings, there are eight guides to access, depending on the industry and nature of work. These are:

1. Construction and other outdoor work
2. Factories, plants and warehouses
3. Labs and research facilities
4. Offices and contact centres
5. Other people's homes - guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes
6. Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
7. Shops and branches
8. Vehicles - guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar

What does the guidance include?

The guidance provides information on social distancing, who should go to work, how to manage risk, information on PPE and suggestions relating to managing the workforce such as shift patterns and communications and training.

In addition to the government’s guidance, ACAS has published further information for employers planning for a return to the workplace soon. The ACAS guidance states that employers must:

• consult with staff and employee representatives, including any trade union representatives and health and safety officials;
• check for risks of anyone being harmed in the workplace (i.e. do a risk assessment); and
• make the workplace as safe as possible for staff, customers and anyone else who visits.

What if my employees refuse to come back to work?

You may have some staff who might be anxious about safety and returning to the workplace. It is recommended that employers and employees should talk about any concerns and try to resolve them together. It will also be helpful to signpost staff to any health and wellbeing support that’s available, such as occupational health or mental health services.

Contact us
If you have any questions about your employees returning to work please contact a member of your local employment team.

Shakespeare Martineau has launched a free legal helpline, with a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters. We are also offering bespoke guidance on a range of other subjects, from employment and general business matters, through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

General advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.

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