Health and Safety Opening services and the workplace as Covid-19 restrictions ease Information and downloadable resources

Managing a safe return to the workplace is crucial as we move into a different phase of a response to Covid-19.

Returning to work and delivering services post lock down provides a range of challenges for employers.

How to make the workplace safe

Workplace safety is always of paramount importance and working closely with staff teams to ensure good safe practices are developed and maintained are key.

However reopening offices and services in the light of Covid-19 adds a new risk to be managed and presents significant challenges to both employers and employees a like.

As with all operational practices, no one size fits all, and we are working to develop a range of guidance and support to provide Visionary members with a comprehensive framework to asses and manage risks in their workplaces as we journey through Covid-19.

Government updates and guidance

The government has an e-mail update service where they issue useful guidance for organisations upon changes to any of the Covid-19 restrictions. It is such “guidance” that you will often hear us refer to when discussing H and S risk assessments and control measures. It really is worth signing up to and you do so here.

Supporting documents – all available for download below:

  • Task list template – pre risk assessment – A document to aid the identification of activities requiring risk assessment and the locations, equipment and people involved.
  • Returning to work post Covid-19 lockdown risk assessment – A detailed risk assessment framework exploring the hazards, how people might be harmed and precautions that can be taken.
  • Action Plan template – post risk assessment – A document to help guide you through the action points identified in your risk assessment – steps/tasks, resources, responsible person, target dates and sign off.

We also have a range of the usual sort of Health and Safety resources, downloads available here.

Resources shared by Visionary members

As members are considering the opening of services and the workplace as Covid-19 restrictions ease then a whole range of documents, policies and procedures are being developed. Members are generously sharing such details to assist others and we hope this resource page will grow as others also share. Please do contact us if you have details which you would like to share with others,

A summary of what is currently available is below, with all documents available for download at the bottom of this page.

Members sharing these documents are all keen to emphasise that they are evolving documents and are subject to change as  guidance, regulations and their practices change. And as with any policy or process, you will need to adapt them to your own organisations situation.

  • Fully completed risk assessmentDevon in Sight have generously shared their detailed risk assessment document. It is a comprehensive 42 page document covering return to work after lockdown or in planning for return to work to identify the control measures that should be put in place to protect staff and others from the risk of coronavirus infection.
  • Covid-19 Guidance and Procedures for Services StaffVision West of England (draft) guidelines for resuming face-to-face services, including home visit assessments.
  • Covid-19 Recover and ResumeAccrington and District Blind Society have produced a detailed report upon their approach to resuming activities and services provision. A very useful format through to which to work and assess activities and present to a Board of trustees.
  • Policy documents covering Covid-19 specific issuesAccrington and District Blind Society draft polices on key areas:
  • Working with COVID – What you need to know – A draft summary of Accrington and District Blind Society policies which will form the basis of a ‘staff’ briefing and an audio message which will be played when service users enter their Sight Advice Centre.
  • Online Risk Assessment tool Accrington and District Blind Society are using this online risk assessment tool with all volunteers and employees, requiring them to complete it on line or during a telephone interview with them.
  • Workplace InstructionsMoor Vision have shared their workplace instructions. (Updated April 2021) They describe them as being based on WHO recommendations and are likely best suited for a small office that is not responsible for its own kitchen or bathrooms.
  • Visitor Temperature screeningVisitor temperature screening and disclaimer by Christopher Grange.
  • Visitor Questionnaire for care home visitors Royal Blind operate a number of care homes. They have shared their Professional and Family Visitor Questionnaires. The Professionals Questionnaire reflects the need to manage professionals visiting a range of high risk and other environments and potential cross infection.
  • Using PPE – You can download here a guide on using/wearing PPE created by Sight for Surrey.
  • First Aid at Work – You still need provide appropriate cover for your work place, however as you’d expect a few changes/adaptions are needed due to Covid-19. Check out these recent updates and suggested changes to practice.
  • ECLO Risk Assessment pro forma – Thank-you to the RNIB for sharing this ECLO Risk Assessment pro forma which they have been using to support the return of ECLOs to clinic.  The pro forma has been compiled with reference to Government guidance published in response to Covid-19.
  • Working safely during Covid 19 in other peoples homesThis government guidance applies to those working in, visiting or delivering to home environments.
  • Supporting people outside of their home – This government guidance is for people who need support outside their home and people who provide this support.
  • Sighted Guiding This document outlines the principles for all blind and partially sighted individuals who require sighted guiding assistance, and has been developed in partnership by RNIB, Guide Dogs and Thomas Pocklington Trust.
  • Covid 19 recent contact with a symptomatic personThis document provides guidance on how to respond handle such contact.
  • Cleaning after a known or suspected case of covid 19This document provides guidance on what to do in such a situation.
  • General hygiene protocol – This guidance will help you establish an appropriate protocol for you to consider. While it might sometimes feel like the spread of COVID-19 is difficult to avoid, the fact is that good cleaning and disinfection routines can significantly reduce or eliminate COVID-19 contamination on surfaces and objects and so help to prevent the risk of transmission.
  • Transporting service usersThis guidance will support members who want to transport service users and issues to address.
  • Covid 19 Home visiting – Many members are delivering home visits and this Home visiting check list from Open Sight Hampshire details how such services can be conducted and pre-visit questions to work through with service users. Vision West of England have produced some guidance.
  • Covid 19 Expectations Home visiting – Some members are resuming home visiting services and Open Sight Hampshire use this single sheet info document to help manage service users expectations of what will happen before the visit and how the visit itself will be conducted.
  • COVID-19 staff risk assessment: assessing and managing risks to staff from COVID-19 – Employers should identify staff who would be at risk of the more severe forms of Covid-19 if they succumb to it and take the appropriate preventive and risk control measures. This form can be used to help assess any significant risks as a self-assessment or joint assessment with the individual concerned.
  • Reopening centre based services and home/in-person visits – Risk assessment details and practices from Southend In Sight:

Useful links to support Covid-19 risk assessment and strategy

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) WIKI-networking knowledge

World Health Organisation

The Charity Commission


MIND (for better mental health)


Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)


Public Health England (PHE)

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