Social distancing and health and safety in the workplace

Wednesday 13 May, 2020

The government has published its 60-page Covid-19 Recovery Strategy and how the UK might move from present lockdown to the new normal. No new financial business initiatives were announced but it was stated that the present support system will have to wind back over time.

Guidance has been issued on workplace safety and how to get UK Inc back into the workplace safely. That guidance is linked to further HM Gov high-level guidance also published yesterday to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

This guidance is on the following workplaces:

Construction and other outdoor work

Factories, plants and warehouses

Other people’s homes

Labs and research facilities See

Offices and contact centres See

Restaurants that offer takeaway or delivery (not in-dining) See

Shops, branches and stores See

Vehicles (including couriers, lorry drivers, mobile workers and field forces) See

Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19 and if you have 5 workers or more you must have a written assessment. Your risk assessment should identify practical actions that protect people from harm and injury. There is a useful toolkit published by the Health and Safety Executive at

Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety and also have a duty to consult their staff on health and safety.