Coronavirus: Guidance for employers and businesses
The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) are leading the UK government response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
HSE is working closely with the DHSC, PHE and other government departments to provide support when it’s needed, including technical advice on the protection of workers. If you employ people, the guidance provided here will help you and your workers prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This guidance aims to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on:
the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas, as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer (full list is available here)
advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from Covid-19
People who have returned from Hubei Province, including Wuhan, in the last 14 days should avoid attending work. They should call NHS 111 for advice and self-isolate
Advice is in place for what to do if you have returned in the last 14 days from specified countries or areas which is being updated on an ongoing basis. All other staff should continue to attend work.
If someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If possible find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.
The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.
Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag or pocket then throw the tissue in the bin. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available.
If a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace closure of the workplace is not recommended.
The management team of the office or workplace will be contacted by the PHE local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.
If a confirmed case is identified in your workplace, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant staff with advice. These staff include:
any employee in close face-to-face or touching contact
talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the employee was symptomatic
anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids
close friendship groups or workgroups
any employee living in the same household as a confirmed case
Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:
all surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones