Coronavirus support for Sandwell businesses: workplace safety
We want you to have all the information you need to work safely. Work from home if you can: please see our working from home page. See also our coronavirus pages for employees, on childcare, mental health and wellbeing, and recovery for Sandwell.
This page was last updated in April 2021.
> Go to coronavirus support for Sandwell businesses.
For households with a possible coronavirus infection, the government self isolation guidance stands.
Here is Sandwell’s Covid-19 outbreak plan, drawn up through joint working across several organisations, including Sandwell Council, Public Health England, local NHS trusts and Sandwell’s voluntary and community sector.
Birmingham Health Partners have published this guide – ‘How to safely wear a facemask’ – in 16 languages.
Opening / continuity
Here is government guidance on opening your business safely during coronavirus (Covid-19).
In February 2021, Sandwell Council’s Environmental Health team has issued a letter to businesses in the borough, outlining vital control measures for limiting the spread of coronavirus. You can read a PDF of the letter here.
Spot checks from Monday 15 March
Sandwell Council is working with the Health and Safety Executive to carry out spot checks on businesses in the borough, to ensure Covid-secure measures are in place and tackle the spread of coronavirus. During the checks businesses will get advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. In cases where businesses are not managing this, immediate action will be taken.
For more details and useful links, read this article.
Travelling to work
Here is the government’s safer travel guidance for passengers.
Here is the latest advice on face coverings and social distancing from Sandwell Council’s director of public health.
NHS Covid-19 app: Test and Trace
All businesses have a responsibility to ensure Covid-19 safety measures are followed such as social distancing and face coverings where appropriate. Businesses now have a legal duty to download and display the NHS QR code and keep a log of all visitors to the premises for 21 days who do not have access to the NHS app. The council will close or fine businesses where rules are not followed and could prosecute those who continue to fail to meet requirements. Here’s a list of which venues must display the QR code (in essence: premises where customers and visitors spend a longer time in one place and potentially come into close contact with other people outside of their household).
Healthy Sandwell has produced this comprehensive page of information on the NHS Covid-19 app. Scroll down to a dedicated section for businesses and organisations
Download a poster to show that your Sandwell business is Covid-responsible.
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Making your workplace safer
Here is the official government advice on making your workplace Covid-secure. These five steps to working safely will help you meet your responsibilities. There is a printable poster to display in your premises showing you have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risks of Covid-19.
Here is Sandwell Council‘s advice for shops and other businesses. The council has also released this document on working safely in warehouses and one – when they are open again – especially for hairdressers and barbers.
And here is the government guidance on cleaning. You’ll find further cleaning information in this document from ECDC – the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has a wealth of information and resources on its coronavirus portal including a video on effective hand washing, and printable signage to help you maintain social distancing.
HSE (the Health and Safety Executive) has published extensive advice on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak, including guides on fit-testing face masks. The document for employers about talking with your workers about preventing the spread of coronavirus may prove useful.
You can contact HSE by phone on 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 8pm) to get advice on protecting people from coronavirus in your workplace. Alternatively you can use this Working Safely Enquiry form.
Managing the risk of Legionella
During the first lockdown, Sandwell Council’s Environmental Health team wrote to businesses regarding the potential increased risk of Legionella infection in water systems while premises were closed. You can download the letter or read our Legionella article here with details of further support. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has published a guide: ‘Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely‘. The Health and Safety Executive website also has an extensive section on Legionalla risks during the coronavirus crisis and you can also download this guide – ‘Maintaining and Safely Reopening Your Business Post-COVID19‘ – jointly written by local authority health officers and Public Health England.
The Cabinet Office shared this video case study from Portakabin, showing how the organisation has ensured safe working in its factory, yards and customer sites.
During the first national lockdown, workplace consultancy Blueprint Interiors published this extensive back to work guide – looking at ways to return to work safely in the short term, and how the pandemic will affect workplace layouts and culture in the long term. You will find a condensed version at the Business Desk, and a link to the recording of a related webinar – ‘The office in five years’ time’ – on YouTube.
West Midlands Fire Service has updated its advice in light of Covid-19 and keeping businesses premises safe from fire.
In this 5 June edition of its national bulletin ‘UK Protect’, Counter Terrorism Policing asked businesses to include a security review in their task lists for re-opening – and gave lots of valuable suggestions.
Working in other people’s homes
The government has published this guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in other people’s homes.
After a period of furlough or closure
CIPD (the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has published a comprehensive guide for organisations planning their next steps after a period of furlough.
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The government information on working safely during coronavirus includes specific guidelines – for when they are all open again – for construction and outdoor work, close contact services (such as hairdressers), factories, plants and warehouses (see also Sandwell Council‘s PDF on safe warehouse working), heritage locations, labs and research facilities, offices and contact centres, shops and branches, vehicles and the visitor economy (such as hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions and so on).
Please note for now the businesses and venues which must be closed.
Aerospace, defence and security
Companies working in the aerospace, defence and security sectors may benefit from signing up to the industry body ADS‘ weekly COVID-19 email bulletin.
Here is the government’s draft guidance on extending construction site working hours.
Government information on working safely during coronavirus is being updated in light of the easing of lockdown measures for restaurants, pubs and bars.
Here are the Food Standard Agency‘s guides to:
* reopening and adapting your food business during COVID-19 (plus a reopening checklist)
* food safety for food delivery
* cleaning effectively in your business.
The COVID-19 Knowledge Hub compiled by the the Institute of Food Science and Technology has valuable guidance on two-metre-spaced queuing systems, one-way systems within shops, sneeze screens at tills, and more. This checklist for restarting an SME food business after a temporary shutdown may be especially valuable.
The Society of Food Hygiene and Technology has published this cleaning and disinfection regime with regard to the novel coronavirus.
Food > Pubs, cafes and restaurants
The government is simplifying the licensing process for outdoor seating and stalls, making it easier for people to safely drink and dine outside (when it is safe to do so and allowed under tier restrictions). Learn more about government support for pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Here is the draft guidance on pavement licences.
Food > Food manufacturing
Here is the Food Standards Agency’s guide to adapting food manufacturing operations during COVID-19.
Farming and agriculture
The Food Standards Agency has published guidance for adapting agriculture and primary production operations during COVID-19.
Sandwell Council has issued these guidelines for hairdressers and barbers.
The manufacturers’ organisation Make UK has produced many valuable resources, including:
* An employees’ guide to wearing face masks
* A Furlough Letters and Resources Pack (free to members; payable by non-members).
SMMT (the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) has published guidance documents on safe working best practice for automotive manufacturing and aftermarket.
Guidance on performing arts reopening can be found here.
Sports and gym/leisure facilities
Here is the latest guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities.
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