The advice from the government is clear – stay at home. The nation has been advised:
– Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home);
– If you have to go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times;
– Wash your hands as soon as you get home;
– Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus if you don’t have symptoms.
Businesses are understandably concerned about the steps they should be taking to manage the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Whilst the government is encouraging us to stay at home, they are also telling businesses to ‘Keep your business open’:
“With the exception of some non-essential shops and public venues, we are not asking any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.” (click here to read the statement in full)
The advice to keep businesses open is for employees to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so. In the woodworking and joinery manufacturing industry a number of jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate CNC machinery, provide paint and finishing services, install on site, provide delivery services, etc.
This gives rise to a number of questions around the safety of employees and others who come into contact with the business, what practical steps can be taken to reduce the spread of infection and how to implement a business continuity plan especially if the business doesn’t already have one. We know that some of our members have already made the difficult decision to close their operations for the next three weeks.
This is a rapidly developing situation and the BWF team are working hard to provide re-assurance. We have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions around Health and Safety and HR and have put together some help and guidance to help members keep their people safe. In addition, we’ve added in information about the special measures put in place by the Government regarding statutory sick pay and emergency funds.
We urge all BWF members to also check the information provided by the Government and the NHS frequently: