I am finding that as the government encourage opening of businesses (to save jobs and boost the economy) yet balance this with risk reduction, the message and the guidance is becoming somewhat unclear. It is my job to understand it and I struggle, so I can certainly understand how our customers cannot comprehend the guidance and meet their stakeholders expectations.
However, the hierarchy of controls hasn’t actually changed at all and the specific guidance we are following does not reflect the current government rhetoric.
Confused yet? Yes, perfectly understandable.
Today as I write this, the individual workplace guidance documents still start with working at home where you can as your top control. After that, the controls haven’t really changed that much since before Easter; hygiene, distance and communication with some additional requirements to help track and trace and make sure you understand requirements to inform relevant authorities. Businesses have a duty of care to recognise and implement these appropriately. The onus is on businesses to do this properly.
So, if staff are happy at home and can meet their working objectives at home, then leave them at home. If this is not the case, a risk assessment is needed. However, this may all change when the promised changes for return to work, from 1st August 2020 as outlined today by the Prime Minister, are published.