10 Ways to Improve Health and Safety in Your Office Post-COVID

With COVID-19 winding down in many countries across the world, more and more people are ditching their home offices and returning to work. So how can employers protect their staff?

Normally, a worker is within their rights to make a work accident compensation claim if they are injured in the office. That said, there’s now another string to this bow.

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In fact, if measures aren’t put in place, any staff member who contracts the virus in the workplace can sue. So, despite the worst being over, COVID-19 is still here, and offices need to adapt to protect their staff from contracting it.

To avoid your business becoming a conduit of legal action, we’re going to share 10 ways to improve health and safety in your office post-COVID. Take a look…

Improving your health and safety policies when you reopen your offices is essential following COVID-19. Thankfully, we have a list of ways to do that which should protect you and your staff from the virus.

1. Create A Plan

The first thing to do before you reopen your office is to create a health and safety plan. To prevent the unnecessary spread of the virus, you need to play your part in laying concrete health and safety foundations. Your health and safety plan should include:

  • The recommended distance between desks and workstations – this includes screen dividers if you want to be extra safe.
  • A hand sanitising policy that all staff members can follow – this includes providing hand sanitising stations for them to use.
  • Shift patterns that make sure only certain numbers of people are in the office at any one time.
  • Make rapid flow COVID-19 tests or temperature checks available on entry.

If you need any extra help making this initial plan, you can read through government guideline articles and relevant health and safety acts. This will ensure you’re 100% compliant with the law and reduce the risk of suffering legal action.

2. Seek Specialist Advice

Once you’ve planned your new health and safety guidelines, having a legal professional look over them will ensure that your business is covered with the right legal privileges.  A legal professional will also provide you with all the documentation you need to share with HSE, local authorities and any future workplace accident claimants.

3. Perform Hygiene Checks

You might have noticed hygiene inspection sheets outside businesses before that tell you when it was last cleaned. Post-COVID these tests could become mandatory, and even if they aren’t, it’s good to keep on top of your office hygiene and providing this inspection sheet.

The staff should be able to do most of this cleaning themselves if you provide them with their own sanitizer wipes and make them responsible for cleaning their stations, computers, desks and chairs twice a day.

4. Implement Physical Distancing

Another way to improve health and safety in your office post-COVID is to divide it into areas or zones and limit movement between them. Have a plan of where people should sit in the office so that whenever someone is working, they’re not close to another employee.

5. Put Up Signs

COVID-19 or not, signs should always be implemented wherever there are any hazards. Having reminders in the form of labels and signs ensures that you’re doing everything you can, as an employer, to protect people from harm.

When it comes to COVID specifically, it’s understandable that employees coming back to the office might fall back into their old ways and talk to each other at a less-than-two-meter-distance. So, putting signs up is the easiest way to make sure they remember the rules.

You can also have signs that remind people of the ‘one in, one out’ toilet rules or reminders to sanitize their hands.

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6. Provide Training for Employees

As much as creating a new health and safety plan for your office after COVID-19 is important, there’s not much point if your staff don’t know what it is.

Providing your employees with a comprehensive training program with an induction and refresher courses will ensure they know what the new health and safety rules are, and the risks associated with not following them.

7. Keep An Open Dialogue With Staff

Effective staff training is a good foundation for ensuring your staff are aware of your new post-COVID health and safety procedures. But they could easily be forgotten if no-one talks about them.

Raising awareness through open dialogue will ensure that your employees don’t forget that there are new rules in place. One way to really cement these rules is to involve them in the process from the beginning as they’re more likely to follow rules they had and influence in creating.

8. Identify Your Vulnerable Workers

As part of your new health and safety plans you should identify which members of staff are at particular risk.

Send out a questionnaire asking staff members if they’re considered vulnerable to the virus and consider whether these people should work from home more frequently than other members of staff.

You could also give them their own parking space for the time being. This way, they don’t have to use public transport and you could make sure they’re in a more segregated section of the office when they do come in.

9. Keep Records

Any measures you’ve put in place to protect your employees should be recorded along with your reasons for implementing them. These records should also include measures you considered implementing but didn’t.

If your office is ever investigated to ensure its COVID safe, these records will serve you well.

10. Invest In Technology

This last bit of post-COVID health and safety advice is for the tech savvy offices out there. You can install voice-controlled systems for alarms, doors and other areas of accessibility that limit employees touching the same surfaces.

You can even use a cloud-based system for 24/7 remote management that will assist with work-from-home schedules whilst enabling employees, deliveries, and maintenance to access the building when nobody is there.

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So, Will These Health and Safety Tips Help Protect Your Staff Post-COVID?

Whether it be reminding office workers of the old health and safety rules, or implementing new ones to be COVID safe, there’s lots to do. In this post, we’ve shared 10 ways you can make your office more COVID-safe when it reopens.

If you follow the advice we’ve shared in this article, you should be able to reduce the chances of your staff catching COVID-19 and protect yourself from any legal action that could take place as a result.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a legal professional if you’re seeking advice for implementing health and safety rules. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.