Data shows that outbreaks in England’s offices in lockdown are major contributors to the spread of Covid.
We are pleased to confirm that the majority of our clients have followed our advice and support and have implemented Government advice to ensure their business’s premises and activities are COVID Secure. Not only successfully completing and communicating to staff and visitors their COVID-19 risk assessments and controls, but also redesigning their workplace, creating staff bubbles to limit or eliminate interaction and revising working hours to stagger start and finish times.
It is important that these risk assessments are reviewed at least monthly to take into account changes to rules as well as the new Covid variants. The employer must ensure that communication with staff is maintained, reminding and reinforcing safe working practices.
Outbreaks across Park City clients have generally been a rare occurrence, thankfully, but despite the best efforts of our clients in following the advice and guidance, there have been some outbreaks, such is the nature of this highly contagious virus.
So, it’s with no surprise to us that some latest data confirms that Offices have been responsible for significant Covid spread.
“Public Health England figures, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, suggests offices have had more outbreaks compared to other workplaces” the report states, “The figures reveal for the first time which are the most susceptible to COVID outbreaks, with offices coming top.”
So, we would remind clients and readers alike, that your first decision must be taken from a moral perspective, “Do we need our staff at work?”. The Government’s advice is clear with respect to working from home, if you can, you must and should do so until the spring, employers are required to facilitate this.
There is now an increasing number of companies being reported for not only Covid secure workplace breaches but also asking staff to work in the office or at the business premises when previously working from home in lockdown 1 and 2 or just ignoring government rules when staff could easily work from home with the correct IT and technical support. The Health and Safety Executive received nearly 4,000 Covid-related complaints about workplaces in January.
Our simple reminder to you all is:
- Staff should work from home if they can until the spring, you as their employer are required to facilitate this as per government guidance issued in October.
- Review, Update and re-communicate your workplace COVID-19 Risk Assessment. Not got one! Call us now.
- Ensure you enforce your COVID secure controls in the workplace and in the activities that your staff complete in the job roles
- Monitor and record checks to show controls are in place and working, if corrective actions are required, log them and implement them.
- Keep records and an audit trail of the decisions and actions you are taking
- Check workplace visual instructions and posters, that are COVID related, are up to date and displayed as we have previously advised
- If in doubt seek our advice and support, it’s not the time to be alone, you don’t need a DIY approach with our team available to help you
To read the full story of what the data has confirmed, follow this link.
On another note, there are also an increasing number of cases where staff and employers are ignoring their legal duties to self-isolate as a result of receiving positive tests, less easy to do or ignore if you have been contracted by test and trace but with the number of employers using private testing there is a possibility that a positive test may be simply ignored in an attempt to protect jobs or preserve earnings, so our advice for employers is to use the Government advice and remind staff of their legal duties, as ignoring their or your legal duties, risks fines from the courts for both staff and the employer, more importantly ignoring self-isolation requirements will result in spreading the virus to others, putting lives at risk. Please re-read the advice and communicate this to the staff.
Government updates that are useful as a reminder for staff and employers
NHS Test and Trace in the workplace
Guidance on what to do if you or someone you employ is contacted by NHS Test and Trace, including self-isolation and financial support.
Please remember you are not alone at this time, as a business leader or manager the decisions and the responses to the changing situation with Covid are challenging. The Vaccine offers a tangible way back to the life we all remember, however, the route to normality will be long and whilst we step towards the end of lockdown and an easing of restrictions we all have a responsibility to follow the guidance and continue to implement the revisions and improvements to protect our Businesses, our staff and other people that we come into contact through the activities of our respective businesses.
Park City is here to help and support you, there is no doubt we are stronger together.