Richmondshire District Council

Back to work advice

Richmondshire District Council’s environmental health team is on hand for local businesses looking to reopen next month.

They can offer advice and guidance on the key steps set out by the Government to bring businesses back to life and keep workplaces running safely.

The cornerstones of mitigating the effects of Covid-19 remain regular hand washing for 20 seconds and maintaining social distancing of 2 metres where possible.

The practical steps for businesses are set out in five key points:

Work from home, if you can

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, the message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.

Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with workers or trade unions

Under current health and safety employment and equalities legislation, all employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. Employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.

Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain two metre distances between people, by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

A downloadable notice is available for employers and should be displayed in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace that they have followed this guidance.

There are also eight sector specific guides on the GOV.UK website that cover: construction and other outdoor work; factories, plants and warehouses; labs and research facilities; office and contact centres; other people’s homes; restaurants offering takeaway or delivery; shops; and vehicles.

For more advice contact our team via email at

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