Here at China Taiping UK we deeply care about your and your employees’ safety and well-being, so we just wanted to reach out to you following the outbreak of the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) and two confirmed cases in the UK.
Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.
Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
As an employer, you have a duty of care towards your employees. The same legal considerations that apply to employees who are unable to work due to illness apply to employees who fall ill or who self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to the coronavirus. These legal considerations include obligations under employment legislation, human rights, occupational health and safety and privacy legislation.
It is a good practice to prepare a particular health guidance for all the staff. Below are some tips for employers to prepare for a possible coronavirus pandemic:
• Alert employees as to the symptoms and risks associated with the virus, as well as prevention measures. You can find this information from official health sources such as the below:
• Encourage employees to wash their hands as regularly as possible, especially after sneezing and coughing or when touching objects that may have been in contact with people exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
• Encourage employees to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Provide hand sanitizers and respiratory masks if possible.
• Ensure that cleaning procedures are in place to regularly disinfect equipment, work stations and the workplace in general.
• Introduce a policy requiring disclosure of employee personal travel to or from China and advice on what to do after their return and if they develop any symptoms.
• Require sick employees to stay at home and/ or consider alternative work arrangements if possible, such as overtime, work from home, web conferences etc.
• Create a team responsible to plan for such a potential pandemic, including representatives of human resources, operations, health and safety and communications. Let employees know how to report their status during a pandemic, including what information they are required to communicate and how often.
• Determine to what extent the business can operate in the event of an actual pandemic and have a business continuity plan in mind.
• Review applicable employment legislation, privacy policies and general legal obligations.
• Ensure employee and employee emergency contact information is up to date.
• Consider any good precaution measures such as asking visitors to declare that they have not been in China in the last 14 days. or
• Where applicable, consider asking visitors to complete questionnaires in advance of attending the workplace to identify visitors who have flu-like symptoms or who may have had contact with a person infected with the coronavirus or from any hot-spot areas. It is also worth asking visitors to provide information as to where and how they may be contacted after their visit, in the event that the coronavirus develops in the workplace and they need to be notified.
This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice.
We accept no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.