The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that employers, employees and the self-employed take steps to keep everyone safe.
This document is to help employers, employees and the self-employed in the UK understand how to work safely during this pandemic, ensuring as many people as possible comply with social distancing guidelines (2m apart, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable). We hope it gives you freedom within a practical framework to think about what you need to do to continue, or restart, operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand how important it is that you can work safely and support your workers’ and visitors’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus. We know that most office workers are not currently in the workplace, we hope this document will help those who are already working because they cannot work from home, as well as help other people think about how to prepare for when office working returns. The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace and the health and safety of workers and visitors, and public health, should not be put at risk.
We know many people are also keen to return to or contribute to volunteering. Organisations have a duty of care to volunteers to ensure as far as reasonably practicable they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. This guidance around working safely during COVID-19 should ensure that volunteers are afforded the same level of protection to their health and safety as others, such as workers and visitors.
This document has been prepared by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).