Businesses and staff responsibilities
Businesses have a duty to manage workplace risks under existing health and safety legislation, in addition to the specific requirements set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021. On 17 December 2021, regulations were introduced to help combat transmission of the Omicron variant.
The regulations state that a person who is responsible for a place of worship, carrying on a business or providing a service must:
- have regard to this guidance about measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus
- take measures as are reasonably practicable to minimise the incidence and spread of coronavirus on the premises, for example those which limit close face-to-face interaction, such as supporting working from home, making adjustments to the premises and putting in place protective measures such as signage, screens and other mitigations
The Risk assessment - Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic guidance sets out further detail on risk assessment and duties as a business or service provider.
Staying safe and protecting others guidance provides further considerations, in particular measures that can be strengthened now in response to the Omicron variant.
Although many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted under amendments made to the Coronavirus Regulations before the Omicron variant’s emergence, businesses and staff should continue to manage the risk of virus transmission in their workplace. This means that businesses should:
- follow this guidance and any industry guidance that may apply
- support working from home where reasonably practical
- continue to conduct and regularly review risk assessments
- implement measures identified within risk assessments
- maximise good ventilation
- encourage everyone to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene and surface cleaning
- encourage everyone to comply with face covering regulations unless exempt
- follow and support workers to follow self-isolation guidance for both those displaying symptoms and those contacted by Test and Protect
- encourage staff to take a test twice weekly and on every occasion they intend to mix socially with people from other households. This might mean testing more regularly
- continue to work with staff, or staff representatives, on health and safety matters. Staff with no union representation can seek advice and assistance from the STUC and Scottish Hazards
- help staff to understand the steps they and their organisation can take to prevent COVID-19 spreading in the workplace
- take steps to ensure staff and visitors keep a safe distance from each other in all areas of the workplace where reasonably practical
- consider available resources to support the mental health of staff whether working from home or in the office or elsewhere