Don't Stand By Me - Employers Must Enforce The Two Metre Rule
- AuthorCatherine Almeida
As firms across Wales are continuing to get to grips with the implications of the COVID-19 in the workplace, fresh regulations have come into force here to ensure employers are keeping their colleagues safe at work, by maintaining a two metre social distancing rule.
The move came after a number of employees in call centres, factories, building sites and online retail centres has expressed concerns that their safety is being compromised at work while they deliver key services and products.
Under the new guidelines, which came into force this week, employers are required to take ‘all reasonable actions’ to comply with the two metre rule.
The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, made it clear he did not want companies to be shut down but said it was vital that they put the welfare of their employees first if they were to continue to operate throughout the crisis.
He said: “Where the job of work does mean being closer than two metres – nursing, care, education, undertaking to name a few – the guidance will need to give clear principles on how this can be safely done by employers carrying out full risk assessments, identifying the correct PPE (protective personal equipment) and ensuring that it’s given.”
JCP Solicitors’ Employment and HR team are on hand to ensure employers understand what is expected of them. The guidance refers to reasonable steps where working from home is not possible, and it also refers to situations where reasonable measures for those working will not be possible, such as lifting heavy equipment or where dual working is important for health and safety. This is a constantly changing situation and the full guidance that been released by Welsh Government and can be found here.
Here are some suggestions for helping your business maintain the new 2m rule:
- Can your business consider alternating working hours and shift patterns so there is no crossover?
- Could staff be set into defined work groups so that they are only working with the same people to reduce social interaction?
- Could you make your workplace a one way system to avoid cross directional contact?
- Can you place barriers up and spread out work stations so everyone is 2 m apart?
- If face to face contact is required for any reason can you limit this to no more than 15 minutes?
- Setting alarms for regular handwashing and surface sanitising.
- Staggering the use of, or creating a grid line system (similar to those implemented in supermarkets) for facilities such as showers, toilets, canteens and break areas.
- Limiting the number of people who have to travel together to two, with one in the back seat.
Catherine has recently joined JCP. Having over 10 years’ experience advising both employers and employees, she has recently returned to South Wales from a leading legal business in Bristol. We are pleased to welcome her to the JCP team.
Catherine Almeida is an Employment Solicitor at JCP Solicitors and can be contacted on 07398 630840 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of our local offices below.
- Swansea: 01792 773773
- Cardiff: 02920 225472
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- Haverfordwest: 01437 764723
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- Pontypridd: 01443 408455
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This article was last updated on 8 April 2020.