When identifying ways to minimise the risks of transmission in the workplace, you have a duty to work closely with your employees.
In order to reduce the risk of transmission, you can implement measures such as:
- increasing the frequency of office cleaning including to surfaces, work stations, door handles, keyboards and telephones
- reminding employees of the importance of hand washing and asking employees to increase the frequency of washing their hands
- providing hand sanitiser at entry/exit points
- recommending employees wear face coverings
- implementing staggered work times to prevent overcrowding when entering and exiting the workplace
- implementing staggered work breaks to ensure communal areas are not overcrowded
- use screens to separate staff from each other
- change seating arrangements so that employees are sitting back-to-back or side-to-side rather than face-to-face
- group workers to fixed teams to reduce the number of people each individual has contact with
- encourage employees to bring their own food and cutlery and to use their own drinking containers
- avoid using hot desks and where impossible, clean them frequently between different users
Employees are not required to wear face coverings in offices. However, if employees choose to wear face coverings you should provide them with information on the best practices to maximise their functionality (eg washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before putting it on and after removing it).
These measures listed are not exhaustive and you should decide what measures are reasonable for your workplace. You should take each risk on a case-by-case basis. For further information read the Government guidance on Working safely during Covid-19.
What about if staff comes into close contact with the public?
In England, it is mandatory to wear face coverings if staff is likely to come into close contact with the public. Some staff may be exempt if, because of a disability or health condition, they:
Where a member of staff has an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering they do not:
This means that a staff member does not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering.
For more information, see the government’s guidance.