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Obligations and obstacles: managing a safe return to work

Posted on: May 18th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Creating clarity amongst the confusion is a challenge. Our safe return to work policy will help you with:

Safe working practices – every workplace is different and will require a different approach, but this policy will ensure you’ve communicated the measures you’ve taken and secured employees’ agreement. We’ve included a list of suggested measures for you to consider (eg. implementing room occupancy limits, one-way systems, staggering start/ finish and break times, closure of common areas etc.).

Dealing with travel to/ from work – set out the need to avoid public transport and to obtain consent from their manager where they cannot, along with how to safely navigate different travel solutions during COVID-19 in line with the most recent government guidance.

Understanding risk – ensuring your people know where to find your assessment (published on your website if you have more than 50 employees), how to make constructive suggestions on improving working practices and any training requirements.

Testing – securing consent to temperature test when entering your premises (if you’re using such measures), explaining you may require employees to book themselves a test, or that you can book one on their behalf.

Contact-tracing – once the government app is up and running, you’ll want to know that your employees are using it appropriately and notifying you if the app requires them to self-isolate. This will enable you to take proactive steps to trace potential transmission in the workplace.

Actions outside of work – whilst it’s important to focus on safe practices at work, it’s futile if employees aren’t adhering to government guidance outside of work too. Without setting out your expectations for behaviour outside of work, you won’t be able to deal with breaches (e.g. if an employee has been issued with a police caution or fine for failure to comply with government guidance).

Managing concerns – to prevent concerns being escalated externally with the Health and Safety Executive, confirm you’ll take concerns seriously, set out who they should report them to in the first instance and how you’ll deal with them.

Inappropriate behaviour – set out the consequences of failing to follow your policy including disciplinary action and the right to send employees home and without pay for breaches.

Click here to purchase a copy of our ‘safe return to work’ policy (£120+VAT).


This update is accurate on the date it was sent (19 May 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.