Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for employers

   Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for employers

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, emerged in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. It has since spread to more than 100 countries across the world.

Symptoms of coronavirus include a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath. Those most at risk are older people and those with existing heath conditions such as diabetes or heart and lung diseases.

The UK is currently in the "delay" phase of its response. This is the second phase of the Government's four-part plan to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

What does this mean?
On March 23, the UK Government granted powers to the police to prevent public gatherings, and to break up groups of more than two people. It has told people that they cannot leave their homes, or they face a fine.

The only exceptions to the stay-at-home rule are:

  • Shopping for necessities

  • One trip out for exercise per day, either alone or with someone from your household

  • Medical needs, or care of a vulnerable person

  • Travelling to and from work, but only if absolutely necessary.

The Government has also written to 1.5million of the most vulnerable people in the country (those with underlying health conditions) asking them to remain isolated at home for 12 weeks.

Schools across the UK are closed, except for the children of "key workers" (see the full list) and children who are deemed to be vulnerable.

The Government has also closed all shops which sell non-essential items, cafes, pubs, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theatres, leisure centres and gyms.

The Welsh Government has introduced a two-metre social distancing law for workers at organisations in the country that have remained open. The law states that organisations must take proportionate action to maintain the two-metre rule, and the police and councils have enforcement powers.

The Health and Safety Executive has issued guidance on when and how organisations should report coronavirus incidents under RIDDOR. You can find details on its website.

Support for businesses
In the Budget statement of March 11, the Chancellor announced a package of measures to support businesses, employers and employees who are affected by the coronavirus. These include refunding the cost of 14 days’ statutory sick pay per employee for businesses with fewer than 250 people, a “Business Interruption Loan Scheme”, and a dedicated helpline for those in financial difficulties and with outstanding tax liabilities.

In two subsequent announcments, on March 17 and March 20, he revealed extended measures to help the country through this period of uncertainty. These include:

  • Government-backed and guaranteed loans amounting up to an initial £330billion, which is 15 per cent of UK GDP

  • Increasing the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, to £5million, with the first 12 months being interest free

  • A business rates "holiday" for 12 months for those in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries, irrespective of rateable value

  • Cash grants of up to £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries with rateable values of between £15,000 and £51,000

  • Cash grants of up to £10,000 for the smallest businesses

  • Support for local authorities and the devolved governments

  • Pubs and restaurants can provide takeaways without needing planning permission.

On March 20, the Chancellor also announced extra measures to ensure businesses can keep staff in work. These include:

  • A coronavirus job retention scheme, through which the Government will provide grants to cover up to 80 per cent of the wages of those not able to work due to the virus, up to £2,500 per month. This scheme will be backdated to March 1 and will be open for an initial period of three months, with no limit on the funds available.

  • VAT payments being deferred for the quarter to June.

Mortgage lenders have also agreed to payment "holidays" of up to three months for those experiencing financial difficulty due to coronavirus.

Support for the self-employed
On March 26, the Chancellor announced that self-employed people who face financial difficulties will have 80 per cent of their monthly wages covered by the Government, for an initial period of three months, and capped at £2,500 per month.

The Government will calculate the amount based on average monthly profits over the past three financial years, and it will be open to those who are already self-employed and who have a self-assessment tax return for 2019; it will apply to those with trading profits of up to £50,000 a year.

Hygiene
Although more research is needed to determine how COVID-19 spreads, we know that good hygiene practices can help contain the virus. You should:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds – including when you arrive at work or at home

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or a sleeve (not hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash hands afterwards.

Updated: April 9, 2020, 4.30pm


Posted: 3/11/2020 1:27:03 PM 13 comments



Comments

4/28/2020 8:17:47 AM

RoSPA

Hi Jacqui,
RoSPA isn’t scheduling any courses for the immediate future, and before courses are scheduled the training will be risk assessed, with full consideration given to the risks to all parties, including clear instructions to delegates, employers, venue managers and trainers.
If a provider is suggesting to you that training is required for specific safety purposes in the near future, the controls identified in their assessments must be communicated so that you, and all involved, can confirm and satisfy yourselves that all necessary safety controls and virus control measures are clear and acceptable.
We hope this helps.

4/24/2020 10:54:36 PM

Jacqui

I've been advised to my moving & handling update in 2 weeks. I am concerned that the 2 metre distancing will be compromised due to the practical side of the training.
I'm very concerned about this...

4/2/2020 2:39:50 PM

Moheddine Atitallah

Following the Corvid 19 epidemic, could you please advise if we can set up virtual DDT classroom sessions and once the widespread will be terminated we will complete the practical driving part.

3/30/2020 2:37:30 PM

RoSPA

Hi Chris,

We're not aware that there is currently, or will be, any specific guidance. We would recommend maintaining distance until fully PPE’d and then to work within the constraints of this PPE.

Location and usual controls for transmittable infection for this work will persist.

Hope this helps in some way.

3/27/2020 10:58:48 AM

Chris

I am after some help is there any guidance on how to manage situations where it is required for two critical workers to work within 2m of each other?
we work in the sewage sector and are currently assessing all tasks to see what we can continue to do to keep all the stock piled loo roll flushing.
but there are some tasks that just can not be carried out with out two people being in close proximity to each other.
the only advice and guidance i can find relates to health care.

3/26/2020 9:12:39 AM

RoSPA

Hi Sandra,

Please follow the Government's advice on isolation, which you can see at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

3/25/2020 5:22:13 PM

Sandra Wilson

If a colleague shows symptoms of Covid 19 but has not been diagnosed, do I have to isolate, and how many other people have to isolate?

3/24/2020 1:43:28 PM

Tony Brady

Hi I was planning on doing moving and handling at local care home , that are employing new staff. Would it be more sensible with social distancing, to show training DVD rather than me carrying out the practical.
Thanks
Tony

3/23/2020 9:08:40 AM

RoSPA

Hi Joyce,

The official advice is here:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

It requires children to practise social distancing, which unfortunately does include playgrounds. The scientific evidence seems to indicate that the virus can remain on surfaces for up to 48 hours, which means that playground equipment is likely to be able to carry it too.

The advice is therefore clear that playgrounds should not be used, but children and adults need to remain active in a safe manner where they can be adequately distanced from others to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We know closure can be problematic however, as children are likely to want to try to enter any playground even if it is technically and legally closed.

Hope this helps to answer your question.

3/22/2020 3:46:17 PM

Joyce Griffith

Could you advise whether public children playgrounds be closed?

3/12/2020 5:59:53 PM

RoSPA

Hi Trevor, thanks for your comment.
The official advice for organisations of any type is to "clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people."
This advice is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance
Sorry this advice is not specific to your setting but it covers the main points.
In light of today's update from the Government, you may also wish to remind people who have symptoms, however mild, of COVID-19 to not visit your centre.

3/12/2020 2:27:29 PM

Trevor Wootton

I can not find any official advice being given to Indoor Soft Play Centers. Although we have increased our cleaning and sanitizing routine and purchased Gel dispensers at the main door people are asking if we are following NHS guide lines. I can't find any.
Cheers
Trevor Wootton
Little Rascals
Shrewsbury

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