HSE GUIDANCE – TALKING WITH YOUR WORKERS ABOUT PREVENTING RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH COVID-19
The article below will give you a summary on the guidance given by the HSE on talking to your workers about how they can prevent the risks associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19). The HSE have published some in-depth guidance around this subject matter to cover several different circumstances such as supporting vulnerable workers, home workers, etc the full guidance can be found here.
The information from this article has been taken from the ‘HSE website’.
Please note that the HSE regularly update their guidance around COVID 19 so please refer to the HSE website to check for the most up to date guidance. This guidance was published by the HSE on the 08/03/2021.
We now need more than ever to work as a team to prevent the spread of COVID-19. One way that we can reduce this is by talking and educating your workers on how they can help reduce risks in the workplace whether this be at a construction site, office, or other work premises.
Although the HSE have issued this guidance which is aimed at employers, it could also be useful to employees and some self-employed people.The guidance given by the HSE explains how you can talk to workers about concerns they may have and the HSE have provided a set of questions you can ask to help keep your workplace COVID secure which will be provided at the bottom of this article.
Consulting With Your Workers
The law states that you must reduce the risks from coronavirus in your workplace. This includes talking with your workers about this.
This means that you can:
- explain changes you are making to keep the workplace COVID-secure.
- continue to run your business safely.
Talking to your workers also means that they can:
- tell you if they are worried about any workplace risks.
- influence decisions about health and safety
You can consult your workers by:
- talking to them directly
- through a trade union
- through another representative
Make the Time
The HSE have said it is vital that time is made to talk to workers about plans for keeping the workplace COVID-secure.
The HSE advise that you should always:
- listen to what your workers say.
- agree any actions together.
Take account of peoples Individuality
The HSE have highlighted that it is extremely important to recognise people’s individuality and that is it important that someone’s background, culture, beliefs, and their specific circumstances should be taken seriously.
Communicating Information and Guidance
Giving people the correct information and guidance is very important to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Talking to your workers can also help you understand what information and guidance they may need.
What information or guidance do you need to pass on?
It is important that you prioritise what people need to know so they can work safely. This could include providing information on matters such as:
- when and where breaks happen
- when people arrive at or leave work
- when and how people need to clean work areas.
- when people should wash their hands or use sanitiser
It is up to you on how to pass this information and guidance onto your workers. This needs to be as effective as possible. The HSE have provided some examples below on how you can do this below:
Methods – how do you communicate with workers?
- signage and posters
- email or digital networks
- video conferencing
- Accessibility – some workers may have different needs. Think about people:
- who are partially sighted or deaf
- with learning difficulties
- who do not have English as a first language
Often People need to hear something multiple times for it to sink in so it is important to decide on how you will reinforce the information that you have provided to your workers.
Think about effective ways you can:
- repeat and reinforce information
- check people understand what you have told them
Information and guidance for people who are not employees.
You may need to speak to people who do not work for you about your COVID-secure measures. These groups of people could include:
- delivery drivers to and from the workplace
These could be things such as:
- how to social distance when they are at your premises.
- where they can wash their hands
- arrangements for welfare facilities such as toilets and wash basins
- You will also need to know about COVID precautions at workplaces your employees visit to keep them safe at these other locations.
Keeping information and guidance up to date
It is important that you keep your plans for working safely up to date. As the pandemic continues to change the guidance from the HSE changes.
You should be ready to:
- tell your workers about changes.
- make sure everyone gets any updated guidance.
- Keep checking the HSE coronavirus website for the latest information and advice.
Questions to ask your workers on sharing information and guidance
- What information and guidance do we need to work safely during the pandemic?
- Think about the plans we already have.
- Think about what we might have to tell people in future.
- Who do we need to share information with?
- Think about visitors, clients, and contractors.
- Think about how we can reach these groups.
- How will people know when updated guidance comes out?
- Think how we currently update people.
- Think about how we can improve this.
- What else can we do to make sure people get the right guidance and information?
- What can you do?
- What can your manager do?
- What can the company or organisation do?
We hope that you have found the information in this article beneficial and once again to find out more information on this guidance provided by the HSE please click here.