Enhanced coronavirus guidance published on social distancing at work

The Government has now published sector-based guidance on how to implement social distancing in the workplace. The generic employers' guidance on COVID-19 has also been revised to offer more detail on the practical steps businesses still operating during the lock-down should be taking to protect their workers during the outbreak.

The sector-based guidance, first published on 7 April, currently covers 12 different business types including manufacturing, retail, construction and transport. It applies in England, but includes links to equivalent guidance that has been published by the other UK nations. The guidance states that it is not intended to be comprehensive or to represent every business’s situation, but provides illustrative examples. It adds that businesses should also look to the advice being published by trade associations and similar groups.

The revised generic guidance, as well as re-iterating the need to maintain enhanced hygiene measures, now includes specific suggestions on shift-splitting and staggering processes as well as the management of common spaces like canteens and rest areas.

Employers will be aware that all this guidance needs to be read in the light of the overriding legal duties imposed on them to safeguard the well-being of their workers under health and safety legislation.

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