Routine eye tests

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I work part time as a receptionist in an independent opticians which closed on March 23rd following government guidelines. They are intending to reopen ASAP but as the premises is small I’m concerned how we can maintain social distancing and if people should be recalled for routine eye examinations under the current climate, particularly those aged over 70yrs. What should I expect from my employers to keep me safe.

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Posted by Kath
Asked on 12th May 2020 7:35 am
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Your employer has a duty to use reasonable endeavours to provide you with a safe place of work – so they must carry out a risk assessment in advance of your return and implement measures to minimise the risk of you catching Covid-19. This will include implementing social distancing measures within the organisation and, where appropriate, providing PPE – such as hand sanitiser, face masks, gloves and screens. On top of this, there is existing legislation which gives employees rights to stay away from work in circumstances where in your reasonable opinion – the work place environment is such that you feel there a real risk of serious and imminent danger which you could not be expected to avoid. In these circumstances you are protected from being unfairly dismissed (but only if you’re an employee). I am aware that the College of Optometrists post almost daily updates on advice to opticians and people working in their practises – might be worth looking at that regularly to keep you up to date with industry guidance.
Ian Liddle, Farleys Solicitors

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Answered on 12th May 2020 4:32 pm
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    Your employer should be carrying out a risk assessment on the workplace and setting out to you what steps they are proposing to take to keep both you and customers safe. The social distancing and Public Health England guidelines are the absolute minimum you should expect from your employer and they should be showing that they have assessed all the risks and put the necessary plans in place to address these. These could include steps such as only having a certain number of customers in the site at any one time, having a one-way system around the site, entering and exiting through different doors (if possible), the wearing of face masks and PPE etc. Opticians are within the list of retail business which can reopen so there is nothing preventing your employer from opening the business now subject to them taking steps to keep you safe in the workplace.
    Chris King, Napthens Solicitors

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    Answered on 12th May 2020 1:06 pm
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      Thank you for your question Kath. We will endeavour to get back to you with advice and guidance as soon as possible.

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      Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 18)
      Answered on 12th May 2020 12:35 pm
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