Support for businesses

Coronavirus advice and guidance for business

Living with COVID

As we learn to live safely with coronavirus (COVID-19), there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others. These actions will also help to reduce the spread of other respiratory infections, such as flu, which can spread easily and may cause serious illness in some people.

While there is no longer a requirement for all employers to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their statutory health and safety risk assessments, it is important that as a business, organisation or an employer you continue to comply with your legal obligations relating to COVID-19 health and safety, employment and equality duties.

Know which symptoms to look out for (link)

Respiratory infections can spread easily between people. It is important to be aware of symptoms so you can take action to reduce the risk of spreading your infection to other people.

What to do if a member of staff has symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19

If a member of staff is unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, they should follow the guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection such as COVID-19.

Employers, in accordance with their legal obligations, may wish to consider how best to support and enable their workforce to follow this guidance as far as possible.

Employees are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they have COVID-19, they should try to stay at home and away from others to avoid passing on the virus for at least five full days.

The pandemic was an unprecedented situation. Where people needed to self-isolate and as a result, the government made temporary changes to statutory sick pay (SSP) and introduced self-isolation payments to support people to follow Covid rules and keep others safe. With self-isolation payments now scrapped, the government advises, “It’s up to employers to determine their sick pay policies and many employers choose to pay more than the minimum level.”

Actions to reduce the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19

Encourage and enable vaccination

Vaccinations are very effective at preventing serious illnesses from COVID-19, flu and other diseases. There is a COVID-19 vaccination guide for employers which contains information on actions employers can take to enable staff vaccination. There is also guidance available on the vaccines that are available through the NHS.

Newham residents can access the weekly schedule of the vaccination clinics in Newham here.

Let fresh air in

Bringing in fresh air to occupied spaces can help to reduce the concentration of respiratory particles, lowering the risk of airborne transmission of respiratory viruses.

The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance on how to assess and improve ventilation in line with health and safety requirements under Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

Maintain a clean workplace

Keeping workplaces clean reduces the risk of infection and can reduce sickness in a workforce. It’s especially important to clean surfaces that people touch a lot.

Outbreaks in the workplace

There is no requirement to report workplace outbreaks of respiratory infections to your local public health team.

Management of members of staff who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19

Some workers are at a greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, for example, people who have a weakened immune system.

There is specific guidance for people whose immune system means that they are at higher risk because they have a reduced ability to fight infections, such as COVID-19.

Face coverings on public transport

In England, face coverings are no longer required by law.

The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.

COVID-19 will now remain a public health issue and guidance for workplaces is being replaced with public health advice.

You can quickly check the latest guidance here.

This web page for workplaces on COVID-19 provides more information and links to public health and other government body advice.

You can find guidance on the circumstances when you should make a report under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

HSE will continue to expect employers to comply with the requirements for cleaning, ventilation and welfare facilities in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

Construction sites must provide adequate facilities in line with the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015.