Going to the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19)

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.

Find out more about when you must stay at home

Follow workplace safety guidelines

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

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

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:

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

Everyone should:

  • 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:

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.

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