Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Keeping the workplace safe

In Scotland and Wales, where workplaces are open and staff are working in the workplace, it's important for everyone to:

  • wear a face covering or mask where required (unless exempt)
  • keep at a distance from others wherever possible
  • wash hands or use hand sanitiser regularly
  • regularly clean surfaces, particularly surfaces that people touch often

In England, where staff are working in the workplace, it’s important for everyone to:

  • consider the government guidelines on the use of face coverings or masks by staff and customers in enclosed and crowded spaces
  • reduce contact between people, particularly between customers and staff
  • wash hands or use hand sanitiser regularly
  • regularly clean surfaces, particularly surfaces that people touch often

You must not go to work if you or anyone in your household has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Find out more about symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) from the NHS

Follow workplace safety guidelines

To keep the workplace safe, employers and staff must follow the government guidelines for their type of work:

Face coverings and masks

In England, wearing face coverings or masks may still be expected in some workplaces. Some people can be exempt from wearing one, for example for health reasons.

In Scotland and Wales, wearing face coverings or masks may be required in workplaces.

See government guidelines for:

Social distancing at work

Social distancing means keeping people apart to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In England, you may still be expected to stay socially distanced in the workplace.

In Scotland and Wales, where possible, people should stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart. 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

What employers must do

By law, employers have a 'duty of care' for staff, customers and anyone else who visits the workplace.

Employers must:

  • 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

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides advice on:

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