This guidance covers those who provide services in and to people’s homes. It is designed to be relevant for the employed (and their employers, including households) and the self-employed, and to agencies who work with these individuals.
Examples include ‘in home workers’, such as repair services, fitters, plumbers, cleaners, cooks and surveyors, as well as ‘to home services’ such as delivery drivers. The guidance does not directly apply to nannies who spend all their time in one household, or to their employers.
Though there is no reference to it within this guidance, there is existing guidance for home care workers.
Measures include that no work should be carried out in a household that is isolating, or where an individual has been advised to shield unless it is to ‘remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household’.
Any face-to-face contact with anyone clinically vulnerable (for example, with someone over the age of 70), including answering the door, should be avoided and workers should be particularly strict about hand washing, coughing and sneezing hygiene and cleaning regularly touched objects and surfaces.
There should be communication with households prior to any visit to discuss how the work will be carried out to minimise risk for all parties and social distance should be maintained ‘as far as possible’.
Who should go to work
Given working from home is often not possible for these workers, steps to return to work may include video or phone consultations where possible, and discussions with clients about the work environment and practices in advance where not.
Employers should keep in touch with workers who they might usually meet face-to-face to discuss their work arrangements, including their welfare, mental and physical health and personal security.
Social distancing at work
Workers should consider travelling to sites alone using their own transport where insurance allows and, where they ‘have no option’ but to travel together, further measures should be encouraged. These include travelling with the same people who live locally to each other, as well as limiting the number of those in the vehicle, keeping windows open and ensuring ‘passengers face away from one another to reduce risk of transmission’.
Vehicles should be regularly cleaned using gloves and standard cleaning products.
Recognising that it will not always be possible to maintain physical distance from customers, extra attention needs to be paid to equipment cleaning and hygiene.
Tools and domestic appliances should not be shared if possible, or they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people, and drop-off zones should be established to remove direct contact.
Workers should ask ahead of a visit for the householders to keep a two-meter distance from those working if possible and to leave internal doors open.
Busy areas in a house should be identified and movement in those areas should be minimised.
The number of workers in a confined space should be limited so as to maintain social distancing. No guidance is provided on what happens if the confined space doesn’t allow for social distancing, though there is a suggestion of using a ‘fixed pairing system’ and ‘fixed teams of workers’, and using the same workers for the same households where the work is repetitive.
Only ‘absolutely necessary’ participants should attend appointments in the home. They should maintain a two-meter separation where possible.
Sharing pens or other objects should be avoided.
Meetings should be held outside or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible.
Interacting with householders
Steps that will usually be needed when returning to work include providing workers with information about how to operate safely in people’s homes and prior communication with households.
Cleaning the work area
Steps required will include frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces which are touched regularly, ‘arranging methods of safely disposing of waste with the householder’ and ‘removing all waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift or a job’.
If hand washing facilities are not available, workers should carry hand sanitiser. There is no indication of who has responsibility to supply and pay for that.
Steps that will usually be needed when looking to return to work include the provision of clear, consistent and regular communication using ‘simple clear messaging’ to improve understanding. Employers should also engage with workers through existing communication routes to explain - and agree - any changes to working arrangements, and then monitor them.
You can read the guidance in full here.
Articles shared by Thompsons relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) are correct at the time of publication. You should check the government's guidelines for the latest information and advice at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.