May 12th, 2020
6 mins

Updated 12/05/2020 – Practical guidance was published by the government yesterday for UK employers to help get their businesses up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible (Please note, devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not eased lockdown at this current time).

The document has been produced in consultation with the industry including 250 businesses, unions and industry leaders together with devolved administrations to make workplaces as safe as possible and give people the confidence to go back to work

These 8 guidance documents cover the workplace settings which are allowed to be open in England for a range of different types of work. Much of our industry operates more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory, and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep your people safe. A downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers, and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.

The most relevant to our industry are listed below:

  • Factories, plants, and warehouses –Guidance for people who work or run factories, plants, and warehouses
  • Shops and branches – Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores, or similar environments
  • Offices and contacts centres – Guidance for people who work or run offices
  • Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles

(Other guidance includes Construction and other outdoor work, Labs and research facilities, Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery)


Each piece of guidance sets out practical steps for businesses focussed on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as practical:

  1. Work from home, if you can

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, the government message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.

  1. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

  1. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

  1. Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.


Click on the below links for the full downloadable guidance:

  1. Factories, plants and warehouses
  2. Offices and contact centres
  3. Shops and branches
  4. Vehicles




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