Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): general guidance for safer workplaces

Guidance on safer working during the coronavirus pandemic for those businesses / organisations not covered by sectoral guidance, for example general offices.

9 page PDF

450.0 kB

9 page PDF

450.0 kB

Coronavirus (COVID-19): general guidance for safer workplaces
Training and compliance

9 page PDF

450.0 kB

Training and compliance


As a minimum we expect:

  • training around processes and working environment expectations to be provided for all staff, including those who work part time, before restarting work.

Every workplace should look and feel substantially different for workers. Physical distancing and enhanced hygiene will change how workplaces operate and how they are are cleaned.

Training methods should clearly communicate organisation-specific actions put in place to promote and support physical distancing. They should also set out the expectations of staff in ensuring compliance of these measures.

Organisations should consider how training can be safely delivered, especially if elements are normally outsourced to third parties. Visual aids may be required as part of the training and for ongoing guidance and communications.

Training should also be in place for staff who undertake the cleaning of a premises.

Induction process covering any new or enhanced hygiene and physical distancing measures may be necessary. This induction process can:

  • help demonstrate commitment to taking the risks of COVID-19 seriously
  • build workforce confidence that they are returning to a safe workplace
  • reinforce staff responsibilities


As a minimum we expect:

  • organisations to establish measures, in collaboration with trade union or workforce representatives to monitor compliance with relevant regulations and processes put in place to enable safe working.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA), your relevant enforcing authority (for how you control the risk of coronavirus) will be either:

  • the Local Authority (LA) Environmental Health Service
  • the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

The relevant enforcing authority is listed for all types of premises. Enforcing authorities will apply the same requirements.

HSE can be contacted by phone on 0300 003 1647 or online at HSE contact form.

HSE and LAs Environmental Health Services have agreed to maintain the way they allocate different businesses for enforcement according to existing health and safety law for the purposes of workers’ health and safety.

Where the enforcing authority identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with public health guidance to control COVID-19 health risks to workers, they will consider a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks including the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices or even prosecution.

Organisations should put in place robust local arrangements to monitor compliance with new operational arrangements. This should be done with trade union or workforce representatives. Advice, guidance and support from external enforcement authorities should be sought where necessary.

A single point of contact has also been established for trade unions and workers to help us understand how all COVID-19 workplace guidance is being implemented. This will help shape and refine guidance based on the real experience of workers in the workplace.

This contact is not intended to be a reporting mechanism for potential breaches of legislation.



First published: 17 Aug 2020 Last updated: 16 Oct 2020 -