UK national standards body, BSI, has published new safe working guidelines to help businesses manage a safe return to work and reoccupation of their facilities following the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidelines are intended to become a consensus of good practice and BSI encourages the business community and members of the public to have their say and share their learnings and insight on safe working to help protect public health.
Version 1 of the guidelines is available for immediate use. It provides a framework for business owners, senior leaders, managers and workers to protect people at work from the ongoing risks related to the coronavirus. Comments are invited on version 1 until 12 June.
Working with an advisory group, BSI will revise the document as frequently as necessary to reflect the dynamic situation businesses are in today, taking into account the comments, government guidance, the level of risk and emerging knowledge. A second version of the guidelines will be published at the end of June with the revised sections highlighted to assist easy implementation.
Each version of the evolving guidelines should be sector neutral and aligned to and complement the current UK Government guidance.
Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI said: “Since the UK Government announced gradual easing of the lockdown, business leaders across the country have been taking steps to ensure that their working environment is safe. Now it is imperative that they come together to achieve their shared goal.
“Our role as the national standards body is to bring people together so they can share their expertise and knowledge and agree what good practice looks like. Together we can help to make the working environment safe for all.”
The freely available guidelines use the Plan – Do – Check – Act approach (PDCA). The guidelines provide a framework to enable ongoing continual improvement and ensure an organisation responds to changes as the business community learns more about safe working and government requirements evolve.
The guidelines include examples in relation to workplaces such as:
- Plan one-way systems in corridors, stairways and other common areas and taking other actions to mitigate the risks where this is not possible
- Do implement processes to stagger arrival and departure times to reduce crowding at entry and exit points
- Check how effective safety measures and controls are
- Act to take immediate actions to improve or change safety measures and controls that are not effective.