Gradually, as the lockdown restrictions are removed, most of us are likely to be expected to go back to work at our designated workplaces. While the pandemic has proved that large portions of the workforce can do their jobs from home and employers may be encouraged to facilitate remote working more often in the future, there will always be employees who just cannot carry on their jobs out of their bedroom or dining room.
If you are concerned about how coronavirus and the risk of COVID-19 may affect your job, Talk to Thompsons today.
Your right to a safe place to work
Your employer has a duty to ensure that you have a safe place to work, this is a fundamental part of health and safety at work regulations. The potential presence of coronavirus is similar to any other hazard that you might find in your particular workplace: it is a risk to your safety and your employer must take all reasonably practicable steps to protect you from it.
Protecting workers from coronavirus may mean different things for different workplaces, but the most common variations will include at least some of the following:
- the provision of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE)
- measures for physical distancing, including restrictions on numbers of people in an emclosed workplace at any one time
- staggering staff start times and altering shift patterns
- provision of suitable and readily available hand washing or sanitising facilities
- provision of cleaning materials or services to ensure sanitising of regularly touched surfaces such as hand-rails, door-handles, phone sets, tills, etc.
- cessation of hot-desking (sharing a computer terminal with one or more members of staff)
- provision of screens, where social distancing of 2m cannot be achieved, for instance between desks and computer terminals, at checkouts and service windows etc.
- creation of one-way traffic routes
This list is not exhaustive and individual workplaces will need to be risk assessed in order to establish the most suitable and comprehensive protection for all staff members.
PPE and workers' rights
The provision of PPE has been one of the major news headlines of the pandemic, with global shortages of suitable, well-fitting equipment.
To understand more about your rights to PPE and what the health and safety regulations say about its use, we have a taken an in-depth look at the subject on our dedicated Personal Protective Equipment page.
The page also looks at the steps employers must take in order to assess the risks to you and what you should do if you feel your employer has not adequately carried out such risk assessments or if they have failed to supply you with adequate PPE.
Consider all safety measures in all workplaces
PPE alone is not always enough to make a workplace safe, and your employer has a duty to use other methods as a frontline defence.
Employers should also consider the needs of home workers, who might have specific needs in order to remain safe. We have a more detailed section for home workers on our COVID-19 and Employment Law overview page.
Talk to Thompsons
All employees have the right to be safe at work. If you are concerned about the handling of the coronavirus crisis in your workplace and the safety measures that have been put in place, you can talk to us today. We are here to provide all the information and support you need.
Call 0800 0891 331 or fill in our online claim form so we can call you back to discuss your circumstances.