Keeping the workplace safe
If your workplace is open, you should:
- follow government advice
- wear face coverings where required (unless exempt)
- social distance where possible
- keep the workplace clean and well ventilated
You must check if you need to stay at home ('self-isolate') if you or anyone in your household has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19.
Follow workplace safety guidelines
To keep the workplace safe, employers and staff must follow the government guidelines for their type of work:
- England – working safely during COVID-19 on GOV.UK
- Scotland – Scottish Government guidance for safer workplaces
- Wales – Welsh Government workplace guidance
What employers must do
By law, employers have a 'duty of care' for staff, customers and anyone else who visits the workplace.
- do all they reasonably can to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of people at work
- complete a risk assessment, and take reasonable steps to prevent harm
- consult staff on any decisions that involve health and safety
Employers and employees also have responsibilities for health, safety and wellbeing when staff are working remotely, for example working from home.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides advice on:
Face coverings and masks
Employers should follow government advice on face coverings and discuss requirements with staff. In Scotland and Wales, face coverings are required in most workplaces, unless people are exempt.
Read the government advice:
- England – face coverings on GOV.UK
- Scotland – Scottish Government guidance on face coverings
- Wales – Welsh Government guidance on face coverings
Social distancing at work
Social distancing means keeping people apart to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If this is not possible, the employer should consider extra changes to keep people safe. This might include:
- working side by side instead of face to face
- using screens or barriers to separate people
Cleaning and ventilation
- wash their hands or use hand sanitiser regularly
- regularly clean surfaces, particularly surfaces that people touch often
Employers should follow government advice on hygiene and cleaning the workplace:
- England – cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home on GOV.UK
- Scotland – Scottish Government guidance on safer businesses and workplaces
- Wales – Welsh Government guidance on how to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in workplaces
Employers must make sure the workplace has an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation). Find out more about ventilation and air conditioning during COVID-19, from the Health and Safety Executive.