What do we mean by social distancing?
Social distancing is ensuring people are 2 metres apart in the workplace (where possible). This can greatly reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
Where it is not possible to maintain the 2-metre distance then you should look at additional control measures i.e. Creating a barrier between people using screens, reducing the number of people that cannot social distant, marking the floor with where people should stand, reorganising work areas so that people can work back to back or side to side, making you premises one way.
It is essential that Social distancing is part of your risk assessment as this is one of the main steps to make your workplace Covid Secure.
Social distancing in the workplace and specific areas
One of the main areas to look at is shared areas with the workplace, these could be the bathroom, kitchens, any staff rooms you may have, elevators, work canteens and even the reception areas. Any shared spaces will always present a higher risk to the threat of coronavirus, so make sure you have control measures put in place to help reduce the spread. This could be limiting the number of people in any one area at any one time, marking the floor to show people where to stand, extra cleaning of any shared areas, opening windows to improve ventilation.
Workstations are another area to assess. These can be desks, machinery, tables, company vehicles, picking, processing or production lines. Always see if there is anyway you can reorganise to be able to keep people to work 2 metres apart, mark the floor to show each specific area, try to avoid any sharing of workspaces and if this can’t be achieved consider keeping the same set up people use them. Provide screens between desks or workstations, and consider people working back to back or side to side. Providing masks and other PPE.
Workplace Space and Working From Home
The arrival and departure of the workplace is another good area to address. Could some of your employees work from home to limit the number of people in the workplace? Could you introduce shifts, or stagger working hours? You could introduce a one-way system and perhaps include more entrances and exits. Always, clearly display signs asking anyone with Covid symptoms not to enter the premises and make sure you have procedures in place for handling deliveries and delivery drivers.
Reducing movement, where possible, around the workplace and providing masks for people that have to move around will help to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Finally, Company Vehicles. If it is still necessary to use and provide company vehicles to enable your business to operate, then make sure you consider the risks of doing so and how to do it safely by limiting the numbers of passengers, providing masks, opening windows and not sharing vehicles where possible. Always encourage employees to travel to and from the workplace alone, or cycle / walk if possible.