Health and safety guidance to help businesses operate safely during Covid-19
|Covid-19 - Accidents and reporting||Cleaning and disinfection|
|Covid-19 Secure by business sector||Face covering|
|Legionella||PPE (gloves, aprons, face masks)|
|Re-opening by business sector||Risk assessment for coronavirus|
|Screening/barriers in the premises||Signage in the premises|
|Social distancing by business sector||Toilets|
|Queuing and shopping||Use of fitting rooms|
|Returns and donations in shops||Handling cash|
|I have a question or need to report a concern|
When to make a RIDDOR report because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
You only need to make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) if:
Cleaning guidance for businesses can be found in the guides that the Government has issued for 8 different business sectors. Each guide outlines the steps that will usually need to be taken before businesses reopen (keeping the workplace, shop etc clean) and with regard to hygiene (handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets):
The Government has published documents covering eight business sectors setting out what small business owners can do to ensure their businesses protect employees and customers against Covid-19. They call this being “Covid-19 secure” and small businesses can display badging that they have followed the guidance. The eight business sectors covered are:
Health and safety law requires that the best methods to control the spread of the virus are implemented as a priority before looking at other, potentially less safe options.
The best way of reducing the risk of catching or passing on Coronavirus is to avoid situations where you are closer than two metres to another person and, if you have to be that close, this should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams, 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.
If you choose to wear a face covering, you should:
When buildings reopen after lockdown, it is essential that water systems are not put back into use without considering the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. There is an increased risk of waterborne pathogens such as Legionella bacteria being present because of the conditions that the lockdown may have created. Guidance has been specially written by the CIEH for businesses so that they know about the risk and what to do about it before reopening their business.
If your existing risk assessment has identified that PPE e.g. disposable gloves, aprons, eye protection is required, continue to use it as normal but if your risk assessment for coronavirus (COVID-19) identifies a specific need for additional or different PPE, it is important that it is acted on
Generally, the people who will have to wear Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) are those who work in high risk setting such as health and residential care. In these settings FFP3 respirators should be used when caring for patients, or in areas where high risk aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) are being performed.
If your risk assessment for coronavirus (COVID-19) identifies that RPE is necessary, it is important that it is of a suitable type and staff have been trained in how to wear and use it. Only purchase RPE from reputable and trusted suppliers to help avoid the purchase of unsafe/counterfeit products.
The Government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible:
Employers and self-employed people need to carry out a risk assessment to identify what needs to be done to protect workers and others from the risk of coronavirus. When carrying out the risk assessment you need to:
If you have fewer than five employees, you do not have to write anything down, but it is good practice if you do.
The Government Better Business For All (a partnership between business and regulatory bodies) has created their Covid-19 Toolkit - considerations for restarting your business safely.
At counters and workstations where it is not always possible to maintain social distancing, then consider using screens. Any screen that is used, needs to be of suitable size (height and width) to provide an effective barrier between people. Screens also need to be securely fixed. It is important that where screens are used, they are regularly sanitised.
Signs at entrances and at appropriate locations in a premises can help people understand what they need to do to maintain their own and others safety whilst in a premises. A Workplace Risk Assessment for coronavirus (COVID-19) can help to identify what signs are needed and where to place them.
Examples of free to use signs:
The aim is to maintain wherever possible 2m social distancing and to minimise the need for contact with people to who are not employed by the business. This will include customers, contractors, maintenance, and delivery people.
The aim in the workplace is to maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible, including while arriving at and departing from work, while in work and when travelling between sites.
Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, businesses should consider if the activity must happen for the business to operate. If it is necessary, action will need to be taken to reduce the risk of transmission between staff. For detailed information please refer to the appropriate business sector guidance:
If you didn’t find the answer to your query within this information, additional guidance can be found on the Gov.uk website.
Alternatively, you can complete a brief enquiry form to inform us what further guidance you need or what concerns you wish to report. We will try and contact you within 7 working days or sooner wherever possible.
There is no specific government guidance on toilets yet but guidance can be found under Cleaning and disinfection by business sector (before and during opening).
Shops and branches need to ensure that social distancing for customers is managed as part of their business.
Government guidance says that retailers can use outside premises for queuing where safe and not causing a risk to individuals and other businesses. This also means that businesses can work with the local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of queuing on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks.
Shopping centres should take responsibility for regulating the number of customers in the centre and the queuing process in communal areas on behalf of their retail. This could include working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider how to manage the number of people in public areas whilst still ensuring social distancing and avoid overcrowding in peak times. However, shoppers and the public should be reminded that it is also their responsibility to maintain social distancing when queuing.
The use of fitting rooms is problematical because they are difficult to clean between use. Government guidance says that fitting rooms should be closed wherever possible, given the challenges in operating them safely. Where fitting rooms are essential, for example to support key workers buying critical protective clothing, they should be cleaned very frequently, typically between each use.
Guidance also says that handling of shop items should be kept to a minimum and that all interactions between staff and customers should be undertaken in such a way as to enable social distancing to take place.
Government guidance says that stores should limit customer handling of merchandise, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock.
However, items will be returned to shops, charity shops will receive donated items and some shops may receive items for repair. The guidance says that the store could set up ‘no contact’ return procedures where customers take return goods to a designated area. These returned or donated items should be stored in a container or separate room for 72 hours. The items should then be cleaned with usual cleaning products before display on the shop floor. Materials used for cleaning can be disposed of normally.
The Government is encouraging stores to use contactless payment where possible and for staff to avoid handling items as much as possible. However not all customers are able to pay with cards and sometimes cash will need to be handled. If staff are not able to wash their hands after handling cash then hand sanitiser can be used. There are no specific guidelines for handling cash but guidance states that handwashing after handling items will help prevent spread of Covid-19. This procedure should be in the employer’s risk assessment needed to ensure protection of staff.