Following the Prime Minister’s statement last night the country has been asked to take additional and very significant measures to slow the spread of coronavirus\covid-19. It is vital that manufacturers follow this advice and our sector takes every step possible to support the Government and reduce the burden on the NHS.
Equally, it is important to note that the Prime Minister has not asked all businesses to close Government advice is primarily focused on closing non-essential retail and leisure facilities. Other employers are now mandated to make sure that anyone who can work from home is now doing so. Clearly, all businesses should also consider their responsibilities to wider society and reducing the impact on the NHS by slowing down the spread of the virus and removing opportunities for the infection to spread.
On that basis, and having assessed the information published by Government, Make UK would like remind and clarify the advice member companies should be following for their operational premises:
- Any employees that are showing Coronavirus symptoms as per the NHS advice should comply with the relevant rules around self-isolation and social distancing and employers should work proactively with staff to ensure that this is happening
- Employers should ensure that all employees that can work from home are doing so with immediate effect.
- Employees who are otherwise well and not displaying symptoms of the coronavirus should not be prohibited from working if your operations remain open.
- If employees are able to travel to work safely then they can and should do so – in particular this means travelling in a way that complies with the rules regarding social distancing set out in the Prime Minister’s recent announcement
- Whilst at work employees should also be complying with the rules as set out in the PM’s announcement including rules about keeping a minimum of 2m apart at all times
We recognise that as well as seeking advice on the processes that they should put in place for managing their operations, some companies are also seeking guidance on whether or not to remain open and productive. Overall, the Government has asked every UK citizen to do everything it can to reduce the movement of people to help slow the spread of covid-19 and minimise pressure on the health service – please bear this in mind when making your decision. However, as stated above, the Government has not asked all businesses to cease operations – it has only asked those sectors of the economy that encourage large gatherings of people or create environments where social distancing is impossible, to close.
On that basis, if you are considering impacts for your business, in the first instance please consult the Gov.UK website and review all relevant guidance to help guide you. Documents you should consider include: here and here
Should you still need further information, Make UK suggest that manufacturers also undertake this self-assessment to help inform your decision:
- Can you run your operating environment ensuring that all staff can work whilst also maintaining social isolation guidelines – maintaining a 2m minimum separation from colleagues and others at all times, including time on the shop floor, in recreation areas, bathrooms, in briefing meetings and when entering and exiting the premises;
- Can you operate whilst also ensuring staff can take all relevant precautionary measures, including steps such as frequent handwashing, and can you provide relevant additional PPE equipment such as gloves where necessary;
- When applying these measures can you also operate safely and maintain the high standards necessary for usual operation;
- Can your staff travel to and from work safely and in a manner that allows suitable space for social distancing; and
- Have you ensured that all staff who can work from home are doing so
Please also be aware that following the announcement last night many of your staff will be concerned about the implications for them and their families. They may also have lost access to childcare or transportation to work. In this environment, should you choose to remain open, we advise that you avoid taking disciplinary sanctions against members of staff who are unable to attend.
Make UK is rightly proud of the critical role our country’s manufacturers are playing at this difficult time and the contribution we are making to our society and economy.