Continuing to keep workplaces safe from coronavirus (COVID-19)

This page provides the latest information on working safely during the pandemic.

It also provides details of advice from public health bodies and other government departments on requirements that aren’t enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The guidance will be updated by HSE to reflect the UK and devolved governments responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

Plan B measures

The UK government’s Plan B measures remain in place for England in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

The latest GOV.UK guidance has information on these measures, including face coverings and the NHS COVID Pass. Those who can work from home should do so.

There is separate guidance for those who live in Scotland and Wales.

Controls to reduce the risk from COVID-19

You must still control the risks and review and update your risk assessment. The following workplace controls remain unchanged:

You must continue to consult your workforce on health and safety matters, talking to workers and their representatives helps to reduce risk.

You can check the latest GOV.UK guidance. There is also information about areas receiving additional support due to rising COVID-19 cases.

There is different guidance in Scotland and Wales.

Reducing contact for workers

You can continue to reduce the risk of transmission during the pandemic by taking measures to limit the number of people your workers are in contact with, so each person works with the same, consistent group.

UK government guidance on working safely provides further information and advice on these measures covering a range of different types of work.

You should make sure the measures identified by your risk assessment take account of the public health regulations and guidance for the nation you are working in.

Please refer to your relevant guidance:

Advice from public health bodies and other government departments

The UK government, along with those in Scotland and Wales, has introduced several public health measures to support reducing transmission of coronavirus.

The following guidance from public health bodies and other government departments covers matters that are not enforced by HSE, including:

  • vaccinations
  • face coverings
  • workplace testing
  • testing and contact tracing, including updates on COVID-19 variants
  • NHS COVID Pass

Vaccinations

The NHS is currently leading the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

There is Acas advice on getting the coronavirus vaccine for work.

Separate guidance applies for the vaccination rollout programmes by the NHS in Scotland and Wales.

Face coverings

Face coverings are a public health protection measure that can help reduce the transmission risk from COVID-19. They are not classified as personal protective equipment (PPE) and are therefore not covered by health and safety legislation.

We have a page explaining the difference between face coverings and surgical face masks.

For England, read about the latest on face coverings and where to wear one on GOV.UK.

Separate regulations and guidance apply for public and workplace use of face coverings in Scotland and Wales.

Workplace testing

The respective governments’ public health departments lead on workplace testing, HSE is not responsible for producing guidance on testing programmes.

Please refer to your relevant guidance:

Businesses should ensure that workplace testing is carried out safely and control measures are in place to manage the risk of COVID transmission during the testing process.

There is Acas advice on testing staff for coronavirus.

Testing and contact tracing

HSE does not have a role in establishing or enforcing the different testing and tracking approaches across the UK.

In England, you can find information on NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace, where there is helpful advice for employers on:

  • what to do if any of your workers display symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive
  • identifying if any of your workers is a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • ensuring your workers self-isolate where necessary

There is information on free testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus.

You can also check the latest updates on COVID-19 variants identified in the UK.

You can find details of how separate information and guidance apply in Scotland and Wales.

COVID-19 status check and the NHS Pass

HSE does not enforce COVID-19 status checks, such as the NHS COVID Pass.

You can find guidance about the COVID-19 status checks in England, including which settings will need to operate the scheme and what they will need to check.

Separate regulations and guidance apply in Scotland and Wales.

This page is reviewed regularly and updated to reflect any changes in the guidance.

Page last reviewed: 31 December 2021

Next review due: 30 January 2022

2022-01-06