Guidance & Definitions
National restrictions apply in England from 5 November. People should stay at home where possible and should only travel to work if they cannot work from home.
Find out about the new restrictions and what you can and cannot do. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
This guide was updated on 26 November 2020.
Where to obtain further guidance
COVID-19: what you need to do
Support for businesses and employers during coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
General guidance for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated guidance: new local restriction tiers information, directly below, and Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (section 2.1).
Updated priority actions. Updated Introduction. Updated risk assessment information (section 1). Equalities progress report added (section 2.1). New ventilation advice (section 2.4). Updated workplaces and workstations (section 3.2). New NHS Test and Trace section (section 4.1). PPE section simplified (section 6.1). Updated outbreak advice (section 7.1.2). New canteen and restaurants advice (section 7.4).
Local restriction tiers
The government has announced that the current national restrictions will be replaced on 2 December with a regionally-differentiated approach, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country.
There are 3 tiers for local restrictions:
Tier 1: Medium alert
Tier 2: High alert
Tier 3: Very High alert
It is right to target the toughest measures only in areas where the virus is most prevalent and where we are seeing sharper increases in the rate of infection.
From (and including) 2 December, most businesses and venues will be allowed to open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
This guidance sets out the restrictions that certain businesses and venues in England are required to follow.
Find out which tier your business will be in.
Factories, plants and warehouses, if COVID-Secure, can open under all tiers.
Please read the priority actions and full guidance below.
Priority actions to take - what businesses need to do to protect staff and customers
Seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.
1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy#chapter1
2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your customers can follow.
5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace
7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.
Five more things to be aware of if you work in or run factories, plants and warehouses:
• Only use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate. Where you already use PPE in work, you should continue to do so. But when managing the risk of coronavirus, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial in most situations. Refer to Public Health England on how and when to use PPE.
• Work with the same team every day. Use fixed teams or shift patterns to reduce the number of people each person comes into contact with.
• Arrange work spaces to keep staff apart. Consider using barriers between workstations or introduce back-to-back or side-to-side working.
• Inbound and outbound goods. Minimise deliveries and frequency of handling and use the same pairs of people for load handling where more than one person is needed.
• Keep music and other background noise to a minimum to prevent people from speaking loudly or shouting.
These are the priority actions to make your business safe during coronavirus. You, should also read the full version of the guidance below.
What do we mean by ‘factories, plants and warehouses’?
Factories, plants and warehouses include industrial environments such as manufacturing and chemical plants, food and other large processing plants, warehouses, distribution centres and port operations.
The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that employers, employees and the self-employed take steps to keep everyone safe. This document is to help employers, employees and the self-employed in the UK understand how to work safely during this pandemic, ensuring as many people as possible comply with social distancing guidelines (2m apart, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable). We hope it gives you a practical framework to think about what you need to do to continue, or restart, operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand how important it is to work safely and support your workers’ and visitors’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus. The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace and the health and safety of workers and visitors, and public health, should not be put at risk.
We know many people are also keen to return to or contribute to volunteering. Organisations have a duty of care to volunteers to ensure as far as reasonably practicable they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. This guidance around working safely during COVID- 19 should ensure that volunteers are afforded the same level of protection to their health and safety as others, such as workers and visitors.
This document has been prepared by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input
from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For advice to businesses in other parts of the UK please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government.
We expect that this document will be updated over time. This version is up to date as of 24 September 2020. You can check for updates at www.gov.uk/workingsafely. If you have any feedback for us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This document is one of a set of documents about how to work safely in different types of workplace. This one is designed to be relevant for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses.
This document sets out guidance on how to open workplaces safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. It gives practical considerations of how this can be applied in the workplace.
Each business will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of their business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated. They will also need to monitor these measures to make sure they continue to protect visitors and workers.
This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities, and it is important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, contractors and other people, as well as your employees.
To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other Health and Safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers.
1. Thinking about risk
Objective: That all employers carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment.
As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety, including from the risks of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a hazard in the workplace and, as such, should be managed in the same way as other workplace hazards. This includes completing a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace and identifying control measures to manage that risk.
Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place sufficient control measures to manage the risk may be considered a breach of health and safety law.
Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or your local authority, identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. Where serious breaches are identified HSE and Local Authorities have a range of measures they can take to ensure compliance. These include sending letters, serving improvement notices and prohibition notices and in cases where significant breaches are identified then prosecutions can be brought.
Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
You should also consider the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place, as any revisions could present new or altered security risks that may require mitigation.
If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment, but you may decide it would be helpful to.
Employers have a duty to consult on health and safety matters. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work they do and how you will manage the risks from COVID-19.
This may be through consulting with any recognised trade union health and safety representatives or, if you don’t have any, with a representative chosen by workers.
As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be. Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If concerns still cannot be resolved, see below for further steps you can take.
Employers are expected to respond to any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities rapidly and are required to do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authorities. The vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with the UK’s fight against COVID-19 by working with the government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public. However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.
- Contact your employee representative.
- Contact your trade union if you have one.
- Contact HSE online using our working safely enquiry form. https://hsegov.microsoftcrmportals.com/workingsafelyenquiries/
- Contact HSE by phone on 0300 790 6787 (lines are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 10pm).
Objective: To reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority.
Objective: To reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority.
Employers have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. Employers must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected. In the context of COVID-19 this means protecting the health and safety of your workers and visitors by working through these steps in order:
Ensuring both workers and visitors who feel unwell stay at home and do not attend the premises. By law, businesses may not require a self-isolating employee to come into work.
In every workplace, increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
Businesses and workplaces should make every reasonable effort to ensure their employees can work safely. Anyone who can work from home should do so. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work, if COVID-19 Secure guidelines are followed closely. When in the workplaces, everyone should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).
Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity can be redesigned to maintain a 2m distance or 1m with risk mitigations where 2m is not viable.
Further mitigating actions include:
– further increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning
– keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
– using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
– using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
– reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)
Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, even through redesigning a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.
Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are strongly advised to work from home during the period of national restrictions. If they cannot work from home, they should not attend work for this period.
You should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission. We will develop further guidance, based on scientific evidence, to enable these activities as soon as possible.
If people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.
In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
If your building has been unoccupied for a period during any lockdowns, consider legionella risk and HSE advice.
Read information on social contact rules, social distancing and the exemptions that exist. These rules will not apply to workplaces or education settings, alongside other exemptions.
The recommendations in the rest of this document are ones you must consider as you go through this process. You could also consider any advice that has been produced specifically for your sector, for example by trade associations or trades unions.
If you are currently operating, you will already have carried out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace. Use this document to identify any further improvements you should make. You must review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if they may no longer be effective or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.
You must share the results of your risk assessment with your employees. If possible, you should consider publishing it on your website (and we would expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so).
We would expect all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and customers that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate this. You should do this by displaying a notification in a prominent place in your business and on your website, if you have one.
Below you will find a notice you should sign and display in your workplace to show you have followed this guidance.
We have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with the people who work here
We have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance
We have taken all reasonable steps to help people work safely from a COVID-19 Secure workplace or work from home
We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace
Where people cannot keep 2m apart, we have ensured at least a 1m distance and taken all the mitigating actions possible to manage transmission risk
Once the above 5 items have been checked please go to https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb963fcd3bf7f5d39550303/staying-covid-19-secure.pdf
print, sign and place in your workplace.
2. Who should go to work
Objective: Employers should ensure workplaces are safe for anyone who cannot work from home.
Anyone who can work from home should do so. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work, if COVID-Secure guidelines are followed closely. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 Secure guidelines are followed closely. Employers should consult with their employees to determine who needs to come into the workplace. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
When employers consider that workers should come into their place of work, then this will need to be reflected in the COVID-19 workplace risk assessment and actions taken to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance.
Steps that will usually be needed:
Considering the maximum number of people who can be safely accommodated on site.
Monitoring the wellbeing of people who are working from home and helping them stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.
Keeping in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements including their welfare, mental and physical health and personal security.
Providing equipment for people to work from home safely and effectively, for example, remote access to work systems.
Objective: To support those who are at a higher risk of infection and/or an adverse outcome if infected.
The Public Health England report ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’ shows that some groups of people may be at more risk of being infected and/or an adverse outcome if infected.
The higher-risk groups include those who:
are older males
have a high body mass index (BMI)
have health conditions such as diabetes
are from some Black, Asian or minority ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds
You should consider this in your risk assessment.
Tiering and the clinically extremely vulnerable
Advice to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals on attending work differs depending on which Tier their local area is in.
In Tier 1: Medium alert and Tier 2: High alert, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised to work from home where possible but can still attend work if they cannot work from home.
In Tier 3: Very High alert, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are strongly advised to work from home, but can still attend work if they cannot work from home. Employers should consider whether clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can take on an alternative role or change their working patterns temporarily to avoid travelling during busy periods.
Providing support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.
See current guidance for advice on who is in the clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable groups.
Objective: To make sure individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance to stop infection spreading do not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 as well as those who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of NHS Test and Trace.
Steps that will usually be needed:
Enabling workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate.
By law, employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
See current guidance for employees (https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay) and employers (https://www.gov.uk/employers-sick-pay)relating to statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.
Ensuring any workers who have symptoms of COVID-19 - a high temperature, new and persistent cough or anosmia - however mild, should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started. Workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from the day the test was taken. Where a worker has tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develops symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day the symptoms developed. This only applies to those who begin their isolation on or after 30 July 2020.
See current guidance for people who have symptoms and those who live with others who have symptoms. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection)
Ensuring any workers who have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace follows the requirement to self-isolate. See current guidance for those who have been in contact with, but do not live with, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Objective: To make sure that nobody is discriminated against.
In applying this guidance, employers should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.
It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex, disability, race or ethnicity.
Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.
Steps that will usually be needed:
Understanding and taking into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.
Involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.
Considering whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.
Making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
Making sure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.
Objective: To use ventilation to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19. Ventilation can be used as a control measure to reduce the risk of transmission of COVD-19.
Tiny airborne particles can travel further than droplets and in poorly ventilated spaces this can lead to viral particles spreading between people. Good ventilation can reduce this risk.
Good ventilation can be different for areas depending on how many people are in there, how the space is being used, and the particular layout of the area. Therefore you will need to consider the particular ventilation requirements in the area you are considering.
Read advice on air conditioning and ventilation from HSE. https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm
3. Social distancing at work
Ensuring workers maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) wherever possible, including arriving at and departing from work, while in work and when travelling between sites.
- You must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible.
- Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff. Mitigating actions include:
• Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
• Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
• Using screens or barriers to separate people from each
• Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
• Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).
- Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms and canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing and workers should be specifically reminded.
Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible, on arrival and departure and to ensure handwashing upon arrival.
Staggering arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace, taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics.
Providing additional parking or facilities such as bike- racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to work where possible.
Limiting passengers in corporate vehicles, for example, work minibuses. This could include leaving seats empty.
Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the workplace.
Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points.
Providing handwashing facilities, or hand sanitiser where not possible, at entry and exit points.
Maintaining use of security access devices, such as keypads or passes, and adjusting processes at entry/exit points to reduce risk of transmission. For example, cleaning pass readers regularly and asking staff to hold their passes above pass readers rather than touching them.
See government guidance on travelling to and from work.
Objective: To maintain social-distancing wherever possible, while people travel through the workplace.
Reducing movement by discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and sites, for example, restricting access to some areas, encouraging use of radios, telephones or other electronic devices, where permitted, and cleaning them between use.
Reducing job and equipment rotation.
Introducing more one-way flow through buildings.
Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts, and encouraging use of stairs wherever possible.
Making sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts.
Reducing occupancy of vehicles used for onsite travel, for example, shuttle buses.
Managing use of high traffic areas including corridors, lifts, turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing.
Objective: To maintain social-distancing between individuals when they are at their workstations.
For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social-distancing wherever possible.
Workstations should be assigned to an individual as much as possible. If they need to be shared they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.
If it is not possible to ensure workstations comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable), then businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
Reviewing layouts, line set-ups or processes to allow people to work further apart from each other.
Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help workers comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable).
Avoiding people working face to face. For example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other
Using screens to create a physical barrier between people.
Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity, for example, during two- person working, lifting or maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned.
Objective: To reduce transmission due to face-to-face meetings and maintain social distancing in meetings.
Using remote working tools to avoid in-person meetings.
Only absolutely necessary participants should physically attend meetings and should maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable).
Avoiding transmission during meetings, for example, from sharing pens, documents and other objects.
Providing hand sanitiser in meeting rooms.
Holding meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible.
For areas where regular meetings take place, using floor signage to help people maintain social distancing.
Objective: To maintain social distancing while using common areas.
Staggering break times to reduce pressure on break rooms or places to eat and ensuring social distancing is maintained in staff break rooms.
Using safe outside areas for breaks.
Creating additional space by using other parts of the worksite or building that have been freed up by remote working.
Using protective screening for staff in receptions or similar areas.
Providing packaged meals or similar to avoid opening staff canteens, where possible.
Reconfiguring seating and tables to maintain spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions.
Encouraging staff to stay on-site during working hours.
Considering use of social distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, showers, lockers and changing rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form.
Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents.
• In an emergency, for example, an accident, provision of first aid, fire or break-in, people do not have to comply with social distancing guidelines if it would be unsafe.
• People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards, including washing hands.
Reviewing your incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect the social distancing principles as far as possible.
Considering the security implications of any changes you intend to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations.
For organisations who conduct physical searches of people, considering how to ensure safety of those conducting searches while maintaining security standards.
Following government guidance on managing security risks.
4. Managing your customers, visitors and contractors
Objective: Yo support NHS Test and Trace
Continued opening up of the economy is reliant on NHS Test and Trace being used to minimise transmission of the virus.
In order to ensure that businesses are able to remain open, you must:
Ask 1 member of every party who visit your premises to provide their contact details to assist NHS Test and Trace.
Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect that information from your customers and visitors, and provide this data to NHS Test and Trace, if it is requested. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.
Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.
Display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check-in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.
Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording this information – including close contact services. These existing systems may be an effective means of collecting contact details, but if such a system is not in place, this will now be required in order to be compliant with the new regulations on NHS Test and Trace. Organisations must have a system in place for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app.
Any business that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties. It is vital that you comply with these regulations to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open. Find out more about how NHS Test and Trace works.
Objective: To make sure people understand what they need to do to maintain safety.
Providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, for example, signage, visual aids and before arrival, for example, by phone, on the website, by email. Consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.
Establishing host responsibilities relating to COVID-19, providing any necessary training for people who act as hosts for visitors.
Reviewing entry and exit routes for visitors and contractors to minimise contact with other people.
Coordinating and cooperating with other occupiers for those working in facilities shared with other businesses including with landlords and other tenants.
Informing visitors that they should be prepared to remove face coverings if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.
Ensuring information provided to visitors, such as advice on the location or size of queues, does not compromise their safety.
5. Cleaning the workplace
Objective: To make sure that any site or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart, including:
- An assessment for all sites, or parts of sites, that have been closed, before restarting work.
- Cleaning procedures and providing hand sanitiser, before restarting work.
Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.
Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings or you are unsure, advice should be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.
Positive pressure systems can operate as normal.
Objective: To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces.
Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products.
Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including door handles, pump handles and printers, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.
Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.
If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you refer to the specific guidance.
Maintaining good ventilation in the work environment. For example, opening windows and doors frequently, where possible.
Objective: To help everyone keep good hygiene through the working day.
Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and the need to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.
Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards.
Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms.
Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
Enhancing cleaning for busy areas.
Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets.
Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.
Providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers.
Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission in changing rooms and showers.
Where shower and changing facilities are required, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
Introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.
Objective: To reduce transmission through contact with objects that come into the workplace and vehicles at the worksite.
Cleaning procedures for the parts of shared equipment you touch after each use, thinking about equipment, tools and vehicles, for example, pallet trucks and forklift trucks.
Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers handling goods and merchandise or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
Regular cleaning of vehicles that workers may take home.
Regular cleaning of reusable delivery boxes.
6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings
Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.
COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.
Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.
Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and government would therefore not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.
A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context. Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, or for protecting against dust hazards in industrial settings.
Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and in a number of indoor premises, including visitors to storage and distribution facilities.
People are also encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet. It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and before and after taking them off.
Find further detail on when and where to wear face coverings.
Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons.
Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one. This means telling workers:
wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and before and after removing it
when wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
continue to wash your hands regularly
change and wash your face covering daily
if the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste
practise social distancing wherever possible
Please be mindful that the wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.
You can make face-coverings at home. Find guidance on how to wear and make a face-covering on GOV.UK.
7. Workforce management
Objective: To change the way work is organised to create distinct groups and reduce the number of contacts each worker has.
As far as possible, where workers are split into teams or shift groups, fixing these teams or shift groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.
Identifying areas where people have to directly pass things to each other, for example, job information, spare parts, samples, raw materials, and find ways to remove direct contact, such as through the use of drop-off points or transfer zones.
You should assist the test and trace service by keeping a temporary record of your staff shift patterns for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed (Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.).
Objective: To provide guidance in an event of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace
Steps that will usually be needed:
As part of your risk assessment, you should ensure you have an up to date plan in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak. This plan should nominate a single point of contact (SPOC) where possible who should lead on contacting local Public Health teams.
If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with your workplace, you should contact your local PHE health protection team to report the suspected outbreak. Find your local PHE health protection team.
If the local PHE health protection team declares an outbreak, you will be asked to record details of symptomatic staff and assist with identifying contacts. You should therefore ensure all employment records are up to date. You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process, which will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff, and reinforce prevention messages.
Objective: To avoid unnecessary work travel and keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.
Walking or cycling where possible. Where not possible, you can use public transport or drive. You must wear a face covering when using public transport.
Minimising the number of people outside of your household or support bubble travelling together in any one vehicle, using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation when possible and avoiding sitting face-to-face.
Cleaning shared vehicles between shifts or on handover.
Where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally logging the stay and making sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.
Objective: To help workers delivering to other sites such as factories, logistics sites or customers’ premises to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices.
Putting in place procedures to minimise person-to-person contact during deliveries to other sites.
Maintaining consistent pairing where two-person deliveries are required.
Minimising contact during payments and exchange of documentation, for example, by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.
Objective: To make sure all workers understand COVID-19 related safety procedures.
Providing clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of ways of working.
Engaging with workers and worker representatives through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.
Developing communication and training materials for workers prior to returning to site, especially around new procedures for arrival at work.
Objective: To make sure all workers are kept up to date with how safety measures are being implemented or updated.
Ongoing engagement with workers, including through trades unions or employee representative groups to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments.
Awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. The government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Using simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of groups for which English may not be their first language and those with protected characteristics such as visual impairments.
Using visual communications, for example, whiteboards or signage, to explain changes to production schedules, breakdowns or materials shortages without the need for face-to-face communications.
Communicating approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, customers or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience.
Objective: To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission
Steps that will usually be needed:
Hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser must be available at the entrance to canteens and their use should be supervised.
Break times should be staggered to ensure no overcrowding, so that staff can adhere to social distancing rules.
Queue points on the floor should be clearly marked to ensure social distancing is possible.
There should not be any sharing of food and drink by staff who do not share a household.
Minimise self-serving options for food and drink. As far as possible, food served and/or displayed should be individually wrapped to minimise contact and avoid spread of infection.
Increase the frequency of cleaning, especially hand touch surfaces, such as table tops, drinks levers, keypads, grab-rails, elevator buttons, light switches, door handles, and any surface or item which is designed to be, or has a high likelihood of being touched.
Plates, cutlery and glasses should be handwashed in hot soapy water or washed with detergent in a dishwasher rated for disinfection.
Canteens and restaurants should be thoroughly cleaned after each group of staff use them.
All doors and windows should remain open wherever possible to allow greater ventilation and prevent touching of window handles (subject to appropriate fly screening).
A system to reduce the use of cash for food or to facilitate the exclusive use of debit cards and contactless payment should be considered.
Where possible, cohorts of workers should be matched to zoned canteen areas (see below for description of cohort working).
Workplace canteens providing on-site (sit-in) services must now:
– ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details
– keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details
– keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and make them available when requested by NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials to help contain clusters or outbreaks
– display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details
– adhere to General Data Protection Regulations
You should collect this information in a way that is manageable for your establishment. If the information cannot be collected in advance, it should be collected at the point that visitors enter the premises. Read further information about these requirements.
8. Inbound and outbound goods
To maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site, especially in high volume situations, for example, distribution centres, despatch areas.
Revising pick-up and drop-off collection points, procedures, signage and markings.
Minimising unnecessary contact at gatehouse security, yard and warehouse. For example, non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows for use of electronic pre- booking.
Considering methods to reduce frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.
Where possible and safe, having single workers load or unload vehicles.
Where possible, using the same pairs of people for loads where more than one is needed.
Enabling drivers to access welfare facilities when required, consistent with other guidance.
Encouraging drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, such as preventing drive-aways.