The workforce is split like never before. While thousands continue to work from home, perhaps indefinitely, others are finding their workplace closed entirely. Some, however, are planning to get back to something resembling normality – at least for some of the time. With lockdown easing throughout the country, it's likely more people will be returning to their place of work within the next few months.
The focus will overwhelmingly be on getting work spaces COVID-secure, and rightly so. But we shouldn't neglect general health and safety concerns either. Employers that take this opportunity to review general health and safety arrangements will be ahead of the game.
Water and Electrics
If you have been working from home since lockdown began, it's likely your water and electrical appliances could do with a check.
Anything dangerous or complex should, of course, be checked by somebody qualified to do the work. In terms of general electrical safety, make sure everything has been tested in advance of the return to work.
Water safety is an often-forgotten focus of health and safety but neglecting it can be deadly. Water systems will have been unused for months in many cases and this creates the perfect breeding ground for Legionella bacteria.
Your workplace will likely will have a different layout to comply with coronavirus safety rules. This will have an effect on fire safety as it will change the evacuation procedures.
Make sure all staff are aware of any new fire safety arrangements. This will need to be factored in alongside social distancing rules.
Preventing the Spread of Infection
Remember the first weeks back at school after the summer or the dreaded university "freshers' flu"? When groups of people come together after a break, infections often follow and spread quickly.
Many of the steps you have taken to become COVID-secure will minimise the spread of other viruses too, but it always helps to be prepared and cautious. Make sure cleaning standards are high at all times.
Returning to work can be an anxious time, especially under unprecedented circumstances such as the aftermath of the pandemic lockdown. Employers can take one worry off their employees' shoulders by making sure they have taken every reasonable step to protect their health and safety when they return.