This article will be updated regularly according to Government announcements and all changes will be marked with an asterix*.
Although mandatory measures may differ depending on your area, please be mindful of customers’ wishes and concerns and therefore take extra precautions to ensure your customers and your employees feel comfortable at all times whilst working. This may include wearing face masks at all times whilst working in their property.
Due to the recent introduction of the tier system by the UK Government, we have updated this document to reflect the measures you should be taking during the winter months to ensure the risk of contracting COVID-19 is minimised for you, your employees and your customers.
We have also linked useful resources that can provide you
with more detail surrounding certain topics, so make sure you also use these
when deciding how best to operate at this time. Please note that this guidance
does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety,
employment or equalities, therefore it is important that as a business, you
continue to comply with your existing obligations.
Also, to help you decide the best actions to take, you MUST
carry out an appropriate coronavirus risk assessment like you would for any
other hazards relating to health and safety.
It is also important to take care of yourself during this time, so if you are in need of support or advice, then please visit any of the following links:
Employers must follow all instructions from authorities in the event of new local restrictions.
Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are still able to go to their workplace providing that COVID-secure guidelines are in place. If extremely clinically vulnerable individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to maintain social distancing guidelines (it may be appropriate that they take up an alternative role or adjusted work patterns temporarily).
You must identify the main risks you and your employees face by working in other people’s homes and therefore outline sensible measures to control and minimise the risk. The best way to do this is to talk to your employees, and identify the risks together, as including them in the conversation will make sure you cover all areas of risks and ensure everyone understands the actions they must take going forward. For guidance on how to manage risk, see this resource provided by the Health and Safety Executive.
Failure to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19 could constitute a breach of health and safety law. Serious breaches and failure to comply can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
- Increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
- Comply with social-distancing guidelines, staying 2m apart from people from other households wherever possible. *Or 1m with risk mitigation Where 2m is not viable, you should consider and set out the mitigations you will introduce in your risk assessment.
- Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed, take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the transmission between staff.
These mitigating actions include:
- Increased hand washing and surface cleaning.
- Keeping activity time involved as short as possible.
- Use ‘back-to-back’ or ‘side-to-side’ working rather than ‘face-to-face’ wherever possible.
- Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ where possible (so each person works with only a few others).
In order to assist the Test and Trace service, employers should keep a temporary record of their staff shift patterns for 21 days should the NHS Test and Trace service request this information.
You should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This is due to the potential increased risk of aerosol transmission. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including playing it at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.
Working in other’s homes
- No work should be carried out in a household
which is isolating due to one or more members of the family showing symptoms or
where an individual has been advised to shield.
- If you are working in the home of someone who is
clinically vulnerable (not been asked to shield but is at a higher risk eg.
over the age of 70), you should make prior arrangements to reduce ‘face-to-face’
contact such as when answering the door. You should also be particularly strict
about hand washing, coughing and sneezing hygiene and social-distancing
- Make sure to comply with more regular cleaning
of commonly touched objects and surfaces such as door handles.
- Contact households prior to visiting to outline
the measures that will be taken to minimise risk to all parties.
- Arrange methods of safely disposing waste with
the householder, ensuring to remove all waste and belongings from the work area
at the end of a shift/job.
Social distancing at work
Before arriving at the property
- Ask that households leave all internal doors
open to minimise contact with door handles.
- Prepare your own food and drink to take with you
to the property.
Travelling to work
- Consider travelling to sites alone using your own transport, where insurance allows.
- If travelling via public transport, you must wear a face covering.
If this is not possible, the
following should be encouraged:
- Journeys should be with the same individuals.
- Maintain good ventilation, for example keeping
windows open and passengers facing away from one another.
- Vehicles should be regularly cleaned using
gloves and standard cleaning products, with special attention being paid to
handles and other areas where passengers may touch surfaces.
In the home
- When in the home, maintain social distancing
- Identify busy areas such as stairs and corridors
and plan to minimise movement in these areas.
- If this is not possible, then extra attention
should be paid to equipment, cleaning and hygiene to reduce risk.
- Working materials, such as tools and appliances,
should be assigned to an individual and not shared if possible.
- If this is not possible, they should be shared
by the smallest possible number of people.
- Plan for regular breaks outside during the
Handling of goods
- Collect materials, where possible, in bulk to
reduce the frequency of needing to visit merchants or shops to collect
- Ensure social distancing and hygiene measures
are followed when supplies or tools need to be delivered to a home.
- Remove waste in bulk if possible.
- It is suggested that while face coverings marginally reduce the risk of spreading the disease (if the wearer is infected and is not showing symptoms), a face covering does not protect you.
- While this may be a simple measure to take when working in enclosed spaces and social distancing is not possible, this does not replace the other ways of managing the risks outlined above.
- It is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of wearing a face covering is weak and the effect is likely to be small.
- If you or your employees choose to wear a face covering, make sure to follow these guidelines.
In the event of an outbreak at work
- As part of the risk assessment, there should be a single point of contact who should lead on contacting local Public Health teams should there be an outbreak.
- If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with your workplace, you should contact your local PHE health protection team to report the suspected outbreak: find your local PHE.
For more details on these outlined measures, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes
Measures outlined above.
*Follow your areas’ guidance according to its tier category here.
Support for Businesses
- *Keep visits to homeowners’ properties as short as possible and minimise all physical contact, sanitising any surfaces you touch before leaving.
- As an employer you must complete a risk assessment to spot potential hazards and to make any changes possible to reduce the risk of accidents.
- HSENI advises that workplace social distancing measures should be implemented and the rules should be closely followed by staff and monitored by management.
- The number of workers on-site at any time should be kept to a minimum.
- Employers must provide PPE as required by their risk assessments.
- Keep your distance whilst at work (stay 2 metres apart)
- You should not use public transport to get to work unless absolutely necessary. If you are travelling to work via public transport, you will be required to wear a face covering and stay apart from other passengers.
- Shielding is still paused for extremely clinically vulnerable people.
A guide to making work places safer
Workplace risk assessment template
- *Commencing Friday 16th October, it is mandatory that face coverings should be worn in workplace canteens when not seated at a table (in line with hospitality venues).
- *Commencing Monday 19th October, the wearing of face coverings in all indoor communal workplaces such as corridors and social spaces will be mandatory.
- All guidance is informed by the Framework for Decision Making. It is expected that individual businesses work with trade unions and workforce representatives to determine how best to apply the guidance in the circumstances.
- All workers should continue to follow health protection advice to isolate themselves if they, or anyone in their household, develop COVID-19 related symptoms.
- Advice around the workplace should continually remind people of the symptoms to look out for and clear advice on how to proceed if these symptoms become apparent at work- advice on helping staff to self-isolate.
- Stay 2 metres away from other people.
- As of 10th July, Scotland moved to Phase 3 of the route map for moving out of lockdown. This is still in place
- *As of 1st August, all those who were previously shielding can now follow the same advice as the rest of Scotland.
Support for Businesses
- *Installers operating in areas of Wales which are in local lockdown are still able to carry out work in other people’s homes permitting they are not self-isolating or demonstrating any COVID-19 symptoms.
- *It is recommended that no work should be carried out in any household where a person is classed as extremely vulnerable unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to the people’s safety.
- Work carried out in other people’s homes can continue, providing the tradesperson and the homeowner and their family are well and have no symptoms.
- No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has symptoms, however mild.
- The person responsible for the work which is being carried out must take all reasonable measures to ensure a 2m distance is maintained between those working and the members of the household.
- It is recommended that no work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded.
- Employers must actively implement test, trace and protect in the workplace.
- Minimise loud noises to prevent employees having to shout over them.
- Those who have previously been shielding will be able to return to work, but should continue to take steps to protect themselves including keeping 2m from others and washing hands frequently
employed: Help if you have less work
guidance for employers and employees
Republic of Ireland
to work advice
- Employers must issue a pre-return to work for
workers to complete at least 3 days in advance of returning to seek the
confirmation that the worker, to the best of their knowledge, has no symptoms
- They should also provide induction training for
all employees to update them on the latest advice and guidance on public health
and procedures that will be in place whilst at work.
- They must also clearly display information
regarding health and safety policies for all workers.
- Employers should put in place temperature
testing in line with public health advice.
- Employees must self-isolate at home and contact
their GP promptly if they display any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Getting to and from work
- You should travel alone if using your own personal car or at a maximum, travel with one other passenger who should adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
- Your employer should provide you with hand sanitisers and cleaning equipment for your work vehicle.
Safety at work
- Employers must keep a log of contact/group work
to facilitate contact tracing.
- Have regular cleaning of the workplace and
provide hand sanitisers.
- Provide PPE and protective clothing when there
is an identified COVID-19 exposure risk.
- Make sure employees look after their mental
health and well-being and are aware of any employee assistance programmes.
to Work Safely Protocol
to work safely templates and checklists for employers
Information for businesses
Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Updated 14th October