COVID -19: Communicating information on a return to work
To ensure that the potential spread of the Covid virus is managed effectively, it is important to consider when business re-opens or staff return to work, how you will communicate with employees, visitors, contractors etc.
You should have in place a Covid risk assessment, that has been reviewed to establish that all current Government guidance has been considered for your business. The risk assessment should be communicated to all staff members and a receipt retained for the communication.
Communicating with staff
It is good practice to verbally discuss the actions that are required to be undertaken by your members of staff, by taking this approach you can identify if there are any issues in terms of understanding the actions to be undertaken. Some basic action points could be:
- What to do when arriving at work
- How social distancing has been arranged for the workplace
- How and when to take your breaks
- When and how you should be cleaning down your workspace
- When and how often hand washing and sanitation should take place
- What actions to undertake when visiting other premises
- Any testing regimes that you may have considered
Other methods of communicating with your staff may include:
- Video conferencing, possibly for remote / home workers
- Signage and posters, which will re-enforce your message, i.e. hand washing posters in the welfare facilities, site entry rule posters at entry points to the premises etc.
- Signage or information for individuals who do not have English as their first language
Communicating with visitors
All visitors to site should understand the site rules when visiting, the following are some points to consider:
- Can the discussions with visitors take place via video conferencing?
- Pre set a visit date, request information about the visitors via a short questionnaire
- Post information regarding your rules at entry points to the premises
- Staff should engage with visitors if they identify that the site rules are not adhered to
Communicating with contractors
All contractors attending site should have clear instructions regarding site rules, some considerations may be:
- Contacting and providing your site rules prior to a visit
- Were and how site entry should be undertaken
- Were contractors should park and maintain their working areas
- Which specific welfare facilities they can use and in which manner they should use them
- In some case were attendance to site will be for a number of days, it may be reasonable to undertake a site induction
- Consideration may be given to adding your site rules to purchase orders / invoices etc for regular visitors to re-enforce your rules.
What ever you decide your communication methods are going to be, ensure that your Covid-19 risk assessment identifies them, and were change occurs the risk assessment is updated and re-communicated.
Author: Paul Jackson, Health & Safety Advisor at Howarths