Publication - Advice and guidance
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces
Guidance for businesses and workplaces on reducing the risk of COVID-19 and supporting staff and customers.
Businesses and staff responsibilities
Businesses have a duty to manage workplace risks under existing health and safety legislation, in addition to the specific requirements set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021.
The regulations state that a person who is responsible for a place of worship, carrying on a business or providing a service must:
- have regard to guidance issued by Scottish Ministers about measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus relating to the premises, business or service
- take such of those measures as are reasonably practicable to minimise the incidence and spread of coronavirus on the premises, for example those which limit close face-to-face interaction and maintain hygiene, making adjustments to the premises and putting in place protective measures such as signage, screens and other mitigations
Public Health Scotland has published guidance on how to carry out risk assessments that sets out further detail on risk assessment and duties as a business or service provider.
The Strategic Framework update published on 22 February 2022 sets out how to manage COVID-19 effectively, primarily through adaptations and health measures that strengthen our resilience and recovery, as we rebuild for a better future.
From 21 March, most regulatory protective measures will no longer be in place when the threat level from COVID-19 is low, it will remain important for businesses and organisations to consider what they can do to reduce the spread of the virus, and protect their employees and customers. Adaptations will be crucial to keeping the spread of the virus low, improve consumer confidence and minimise the potential of further disruption if the threat level increases.
The Scottish Government recognises that creating safer spaces is not an exact science and will vary by sector, premises and business model. However, businesses and organisations should consider what potential adaptations can be implemented in their own context which takes account of their own risk assessments, which should be refreshed regularly. Adaptations may already relate to the protective measures below, and we are aware, and appreciate, that many businesses have already been adapting in some of these ways already.
Although many COVID-19 requirements have been removed businesses and staff are encouraged to continue to manage the risk of virus transmission in their workplace. This means that businesses should:
- follow this guidance and any industry guidance that may apply
- continue to conduct and regularly review risk assessments
- implement measures identified within risk assessments
- continue to conduct individual risk assessments particularly for those at higher risk
- consider appropriate physical distancing
- consider implementing hybrid working
- maximise good ventilation
- encourage everyone to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene and surface cleaning
- encourage everyone to comply with face covering regulations unless exempt
- follow and support workers to follow self-isolation guidance for both those displaying symptoms and those contacted by Test and Protect
- continue to work with staff, or staff representatives, on health and safety matters. Staff with no union representation can seek advice and assistance from the STUC and Scottish Hazards
- help staff to understand the steps they and their organisation can take to prevent COVID-19 spreading in the workplace
- consider available resources to support the mental health of staff whether working from home or in the office or elsewhere
- encouraging uptake of vaccination