Following the government announcement, for Financial Services, we will be moving to COVID-19 Lockdown level 2 at 23:59, 13 May. Until then, we remain at Level 3. Level 2 is about reducing the risk of transmission.
At Level 2, we expect to see a significant further opening of activity, but it is not business as usual.
Workplaces may re-open, subject to complying with public health guidance such as implementing measures like contact tracing (WorkSafe contact tracing) where possible. A one metre separation between staff, and between staff and customers, should be maintained unless other mitigating measures are in place. Workplaces are encouraged to use alternative ways of working if possible. Where this isn’t possible, we expect workplaces to take a common-sense approach, apply judgement, follow good hygiene practices, and minimise contact.
Services may now be provided on customers’ premises (e.g. in homes) but interactions should be recorded for contact tracing purposes. This means, for example, that financial advisers will be able to visit clients in their homes or host meetings in the adviser’s office. We expect firms to apply judgement and common sense.
The expectations of customers, the community, workers, and regulators is that workplaces continue to meet the highest possible standards and that managers, supervisors, and individual workers actively manage adherence to the safety measures and expectations. We expect all staff to demonstrate leadership and appropriate self-supervision to ensure that standards are met and that they are looking out for the health and safety of their colleagues and community while at work.
The following guidance has been supported by WorkSafe for the Financial Services sector and should be applied by any business which requires the physical presence of staff, customers or contractors at the workplace during Level 2:
- Workplaces must take practical hygiene steps to avoid the spread of the virus e.g. Supplying soap and water or hand sanitiser to ensure workers can frequently wash their hands; splitting meal breaks to reduce the number of people using a kitchen; increased cleaning of high touch surfaces
- Workplaces should minimise the risk of transmission and look to maintain physical distancing (one metre) between workers where possible
- Workplaces should hold centralised records of any workers working together and set up contact tracing measures where possible (i.e. sign-in and sign-out procedures for customers and staff, recording interactions and floor access)
- Workers are not to attend the workplace if they have any symptoms of feeling unwell or are being tested for COVID-19
- Workers are not to attend the workplace if they have been in close contact with anyone who is displaying respiratory symptoms, being tested for COVID-19, or has a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
- Workers who are, or come into close contact with someone who is, considered ‘higher risk’ of becoming severely ill from COVID 19 (Ministry of Health – most at risk) may attend the workplace but are advised to take additional precautions when leaving the home
We encourage workplaces to continue to engage with workers (as individuals or representatives) on any changes to work practices. As for previous lockdown levels, we want everyone to feel confident and safe when returning to work. Any consultation and/or feedback process should be ongoing so that workplaces are able to improve practices and learn lessons to continuously improve management and safety.