North West business owners should check the safety of their work environment before thinking about reintroducing staff, according to a leading health and safety expert.
Chris Walker, from ATG Health and Safety, part of the Napthens Group, has been advising clients on key checks and modifications that they should be making the workplace before staff return to work.
To advise businesses in the region, he has laid out five essential steps they should check before reopening, from complying with public health advice and carrying out essential checks and tests through to advising staff on commuting in to work.
Chris, Head of ATG Health and Safety, said: “Firstly, all businesses need to be able to comply with the government’s public health advice as it changes. This could include spreading out desks in an office, rearranging them to face away from each other, or staggering arrival and departure times to stop a queue of people coming in and out of the workplace at the same time. However, people should be wary of whether these could create unintended safety issues and react accordingly.
“If some workers are returning and others are still working from home, then it is essential to reassess whether you have cover for essential key safety roles such as fire marshals or first aiders. You may need to train more staff or require important personnel to come in to work.
“Buildings that have remained idle for six weeks may have developed safety issues. Flushing out the water system to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, carrying out fire alarm checks, inspecting potential leaks or property damage should be part of the first checks.
“For some workplaces, some regular inspections may have been missed while it has been closed. Essential checks such as gas safety and lift equipment checks should be certified before they are operated again.
“For staff preparing to start commuting back in to work, it is important to check that travel can be kept safe. Drivers who haven’t moved their car for six weeks should run a quick check of tyres, lights and brakes the day before they set off, while public transport methods may well operate differently than before.”
In addition to advising on the health and safety or returning to work, Napthens has also launched a home worker service, designed to helps employers keep their staff safe while working from home.
Napthens has been offering advice to navigate the coronavirus pandemic and beyond with a specially assembled team, offering advice on employment, health and safety, business support and Wills and Estate planning.