Your health and safety matters!—local authority newsletter

As services and workplaces start to reopen, Unite members are rightly concerned at the procedures and processes that are put in place to protect themselves, colleagues and indeed the public.

Unite has drawn up guidance for employer to follow to ensure your safety is at the top of any plans.

Pre start checklist

  • Follow government guidance and if work from home if you can
  • Identify employees that can return to duty
  • Deliver a COVID19 social distancing briefing to employees
  • Ensure office and depots have in place social distancing guidelines and infection control measures
  • Ensure adequate work vehicles are available to maintain social distancing
  • Ensure employees have adequate hygiene products and PPE
  • Review safety principles & risk assessments with Trade Union Representatives
  • Check if returning employees have symptoms instruct to remain home on full pay
  • Confirm whether they have a vulnerable person in the household and discuss whether they need to remain home
  • Ensure enhanced cleaning and maintenance programmes are in place prior to ramp up and address the risk of cross contamination with Covid-19 by cleaning staff
  • Check all equipment and service to ensure in safe working order
  • Ensure cleaning staff have new PPE on a daily basis
  • Ensure social distancing guidance and posters are in all locations and prominently displayed
  • Reps and mangers to conduct regular site “walkabouts” with workers to ensure employees are complying with social distancing principles

Workplace procedural infection controls and facilities

This will vary depending on the workplace, but below are some examples of workplace infection controls that employers should be implementing:


  • Visitors and customers to sites should be curtailed unless essential and business critical – welfare facilities need to be provided
  • Monitor congestion to enable social distancing of 2 metres
  • Introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact
  • Remove or disable entry systems that require skin contact e.g. fingerprint scanners
  • Promote good hygiene, wash or clean hands before entering or leaving premises
  • Provide the necessary facilities to do this, warm water soap or hand sanitiser
  • Regularly clean common contact surfaces in reception, office, delivery areas
  • Drivers should remain in their vehicles if the load will allow it and must wash or clean their hands before unloading goods and materials
  • Access to toilets and washing facilities needs to be given to delivery drivers.

Travel arrangements

  • Avoid public transport – only use if there is no choice and it is safe to do so
  • Car sharing would only be recommended if living in same household
  • Travel alone in own transport if this is available to you
  • Use a bicycle if this is feasible or walk if in walking distance
  • Every effort made to provide additional parking spaces for cars and bicycles

Enhanced cleaning procedures in the workplace

Enhanced and regular cleaning across all areas of the workplace utilising approved cleaning products includes all building touch points

  • Enhanced and regular cleaning of escalators
  • Taps and washing facilities
  • Toilet flush and seats
  • Door handles and push plates
  • Hand rails on staircases and corridors
  • Lift and hoist controls
  • Machinery and equipment controls
  • Food preparation and eating surfaces
  • Telephone equipment
  • Key boards, photocopiers and other office equipment
  • Rubbish collection and storage points should be increased and emptied regularly throughout and at the end of each day.

Working within 2 metres

Unite’s position is that social distancing should be applied at all times, within the workplace being no exception.

Your rights

Remember – the law states that members have the right to remove themselves from the risk of serious or imminent danger. If you believe you are being put in this position you are entitled to move to a place of safety while remaining on site and at work, raise the issue immediately with your manager and Unite.

Unite will support you.

2 thoughts on “Your health and safety matters!—local authority newsletter”

    1. Hi Cathy

      The Council should have completed risk assessments for all buildings where staff are returning to work—you can ask your line manager for them. If this hasn’t been done, or if you don’t think it is safe, we can get a health and safety rep to look into it if you contact me on 07719481092

      All the best,


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