BSI: Assume all sick colleagues are COVID carriers

UK standards body, BSI has published its Safe Working Guidelines to help organisations protect people at work from the ongoing coronavirus risks, mitigate outbreaks and build long-term resilience. Amongst the guidelines, prepared with the help of hundreds of contributions from experts across industry, academia and governments globally, is advice to treat any person who becomes unwell in the workplace as potentially having COVID-19.

Director of standards at BSI, Scott Steedman said, “This week, as many organisations reopen their doors to customers and staff, we are faced with the challenge of protecting the public by helping to prevent work-related outbreaks of the virus."

The guidelines outlines the "reasonable adjustments" that should be made to support workers returning to work after contracting COVID-19, taking into account their physical and psychological needs. One such example is allowing flexible work hours and time off. Other recommendations include:

- Isolating the person who is unwell and provide them with a face mask

- Requiring the affected person to go home (or to a medical facility)

- Establishing if an affected worker has been in close contact with other workers and support those workers to self-isolate

- Ensuring the areas the affected person has been in are either isolated or cleaned

- Providing clear guidance on when it is safe for a worker who has had COVID-19 to return to work.

The guidance also provides new advice for employers on working from home. The SWG is being updated on a more frequent basis than others, according to government guidance, the level of risk and emerging knowledge, with the next update expected in August.

For in-depth advice on a safe and secure return to work, listen to CIR's latest podcast.

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