Coronavirus: Employment and Health and Safety advice
All you need to know about how your business can take appropriate risk control measures in the face of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The implications of the virus on businesses and their employees are far-reaching and changing quickly. The following FAQ, which will be continually updated as new guidance is made available, provides you with a one-stop-shop for all the key questions you need to be considering.
For similar guidance visit the Coronavirus Hub.
Health and safety FAQs
What are my health and safety responsibilities?
As an employer, you have a duty of care under health and safety law to support your employees during outbreaks such as coronavirus and to take precautions to prevent exposure. The best way to do this is to develop a plan describing not only how you are going to reduce the risk of infection but also how to respond in the event of an outbreak.
To help you develop your plan, we have set out below some important areas to consider. Where appropriate, we have also directed you to other useful sources of advice and guidance as provided by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE), who are leading the UK response to the coronavirus situation.
What can I do from a health and safety point of view to keep staff safe?
Good personal hygiene can help to prevent the spread of pathogens such as coronavirus. Best practice hygiene measures include:
Further helpful advice on infection prevention and control is available from the World Health Organisation website.
What should I do if staff are displaying symptoms or concerned they might have coronavirus?
If employees have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, they should use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. In Scotland, employees should call their GP or NHS 24 on 111 for advice out of hours.
The NHS have asked the public not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Advice line services should be used in the first instance.
What if I have staff working in other countries who are planning to return to the UK?
Your duty as an employer extends to carrying out an assessment of the risks of being infected with the coronavirus whilst travelling, working in and returning from other countries. As the spread of coronavirus is changing by the day, it is most important that you keep up to date with the latest information and advice provided by the government.
You can find the latest advice for British people travelling and living overseas following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, and in other countries worldwide on the GOV.UK website.
What does a travel risk assessment involve?
The Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) has produced guidance on how to protect travelling employees and how organisations can manage risk. It says that to effectively manage travel risk, you will need to ensure you have proportionate and robust policies, procedures and controls in place.
Here are some important considerations when conducting your risk assessment: