Following the Government’s overarching “Plan to Rebuild” published yesterday (11th May), today it has issued guidance to employers to help get businesses that are allowed to open back up and running and workplaces operating safely. Today’s publication of 8 guides for different types of work offer sector specific guidance. The aim is to develop best practice on safe ways of working, with the aim of giving employees confidence to return to work.

There are 5 key points that are highlighted by the guidance. These are:

Work from home if you can: although this doesn’t change the original messaging from the Government, the emphasis has altered. If someone cannot work from home in a business that is legally allowed to be operating, people should go to work.

Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment: in accordance with existing legislative obligations, including health and safety requirements, businesses will need to carry out a risk assessment. It is expected that these will be published by businesses with over 50 employees (and encouraged for others).

Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible: make changes to design, timings and processes to maintain social distancing.

Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risks: businesses will need to look at changes, which may include design, timings and processes, to create “barriers” to transmission.

Reinforcing cleaning processes: businesses will need to review and upgrade their cleaning processes and provide appropriate handwashing and sanitation facilities for people.

In addition to this guidance, there are of course key issues to take on board from the overarching Plan and the press statements being made by the Government. This includes the key obligation that anyone suffering any symptoms, however mild, should self-isolate, guidance that everyone should avoid public transport wherever possible, and the warning by the Prime Minister that inspection capability, such as HSE, to ensure “Covid-19 Secure” workplaces would be ramped up.