What can you do to prepare now, for a return to business?
In the context of the Covid-19 outbreak, the duty to remove or minimise health and safety risks in your business has become harder. When lockdown measures ease, businesses will need to have a plan on how they will manage risks and protect workers and customers before they start operations.
At Alert Level 3, workplaces can be reopened if the work cannot be done from home and the workplace can operate consistently with public health guidance.
Many businesses are still unable to operate under Alert level 3. Businesses will be required to work from home unless that is not possible. If you are one of the businesses that are able to return to work, you will need to think about the following safety measures:
Keeping your workplace, and the people you work with safe
- Strict hygiene measures - disinfecting surfaces and allowing people to have easy access to soap and water and/or sanitiser so they can maintain high levels of hygiene. Reminding staff with posters about how to reduce risk will be important too.
- Social distancing for employees - the goal is to limit the interaction between people. Can you set up split-shifts for staff or ensure that only essential workers come to the workplace in order to reduce interactions?
- Social distancing for customers and suppliers - offering online purchase and contactless delivery. If people come into the business, have a plan for a managed entry system, with space for people to maintain a safe distance from others.
- Contact tracing - you’ll need to record who is working together and any other people such as suppliers, customers or a tradesperson who you have contact with.
- Providing protective equipment, if it is required - you may not need PPE equipment but if it is necessary, you'll need to be able to supply workers with the items they need.
- Have a plan to respond to suspected infection - make sure everyone can identify symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath). Unwell people should stay home.
- Employee engagement - work together to discuss and agree the new working arrangements.
- Have a plan for managing employee absences - who is essential to your business operation? Have a plan in place if staff are unable to work.
- Communication with customers - you’ll need to consider how you will communicate with customers.
At Alert Level 3, workplaces can be reopened if the work cannot be done from home and the workplace can operate consistently with public health guidance. However, there cannot be contact with the public.
For more information on what business can operate and how to comply visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.