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12 May 20202 minute read

Government’s recovery strategy and workplace safety guides

Government’s recovery strategy and workplace safety guides

Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery ‘roadmap’ was published yesterday by the Cabinet Office. It is supported by several crucially important ‘COVID-19 secure’ guides on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus in construction, domestic and other workplace environments.

ECA’s concise summary of the new 50-page ‘roadmap’ document is available here.

Working safely during coronavirus

In support of the roadmap, BEIS has produced a set of ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance for businesses and workers. Significantly, the government says it has consulted industry, unions and the HSE and Public Health England on the content of the new guidance. 

The guidance covers workplace settings which are allowed to be open (see below) and they “set out practical steps for businesses focused on five key points” which are:

  1. Work from home if you can

  2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions

  3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

  4. Where people cannot be two metres apart, manage viral transmission risk

  5. Reinforce cleaning processes.

The new guidance includes:

  • Construction and other outdoor work – for those who work in or run outdoor working environments – an ECA concise summary of some of salient points in this document is here. The new guidance will likely prompt a rapid review of the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures (SOP) and we will keep Members advised on this. 

  • Factories and warehouses - Guidance for people who work in or run factories and warehouses.

  • Homes – Guidance for those working in, visiting or delivering to home environments, as well as for employers

  • Vehicles – Guidance for those who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.

  • Offices and contact centres – Guidance for those who work in or run offices, contact centres etc.

(There are also guides covering other sectors such as shops, the hospitality industry and laboratories.)

More on the Recovery roadmap…

The new Recovery roadmap applies in England and it should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
Step 1 of the roadmap applies from Wednesday 13 May in England. Key features include:

  • Workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. 

  • All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open e.g. construction, manufacturing and distribution. (The Government is requiring hospitality and non-essential retail to remain closed during the first step.)

  • As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow the new “COVID-19 Secure” guidance (see below), aimed at effective management of the risk of viral spread in workplaces.

  • It is still the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work. Those people should self-isolate, as should those in their households.

As part of the Step 1 measures the public are also advised by the Government “to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops and public transport”. Face coverings do not need to be worn outdoors, in workplaces such as offices or by those who may find them difficult to wear. Find more information here.