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BERRG welcomes new guidance on working safely

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The Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) of the Local Resilience Forum has welcomed new Government guidance advising businesses how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BERRG is responsible for developing the business and economy response to COVID-19 and has been promoting the ‘working safely’ message to businesses since the outbreak began.

The Chair of BERRG, Jo Lappin, is now urging Cumbrian businesses to consider whether they can restart or scale-up their business operations in line with the newly published guidance, which is designed to help businesses to develop their systems and processes to operate safely.  

Mrs Lappin, who is Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The initial guidance did not require all non-essential businesses to close, but at the outset there was some confusion.

“Government confirmed that most businesses, except those in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, could continue to trade as long as they could do so safely in a way that protected the health and wellbeing of their workforce.  

“The new guidance provides further details to help businesses make the necessary adaptions to their systems and processes to re-open or extend their current operations.

“We face an unprecedented economic challenge and that’s why it’s important that as many businesses as possible are able to continue operating safely as this will help us to move forward in the future.”

Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery, Chair of Cumbria’s Local Resilience Forum, said: “Restarting businesses across the county is a positive step towards restoring a degree of normality in Cumbria, protecting the local economy and securing people’s jobs as long as it is done safely, with social distancing and protective measures.

“I’d encourage all businesses to carefully consider the Government guidance and ensure necessary adaptations are in place in order to operate safely.

“We all have a responsibility to protect people from Coronavirus, particularly those in our communities who are most vulnerable so it is critical that we work in a way that prevents the further spread of infection.”

The new Government guidance, ‘Covid-19 secure’, has been produced in consultation with industry and can be accessed here:

It covers eight workplace settings that are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways.

It sets out practical steps for businesses focused on five key points, which Government says should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

  • Work from home, if you can;
  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions;
  • Maintain two metres social distancing, wherever possible;
  • Where people cannot be two metres apart, manage transmission risk;
  • Reinforcing cleaning processes.

Eight specific guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. The guidance states that employers may need to use more than one of these guides as they consider what needs to be done to keep employees safe.

The eight guides can be accessed here:

Construction and other outdoor work – Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.

Factories, plants and warehouses - Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses

Homes – Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments as well as their employers

Labs and research facilities – Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments

Offices and contact centres – Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments

Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.

Shops and branches – Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.

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