Publication - Advice and guidance

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

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19): general guidance for safer workplaces
Where we are now

Where we are now

Scotland follows a COVID-19 levels system, as set out in the Covid-19: Strategic Framework update, published in June 2021.

There are 5 levels (0-4) and each has a different set of rules.

 Find out the level and rules for an area using the postcode checker.

Get more information on the current COVID position.

Physical distancing measures will be slowly eased to enable us to operate in a less restricted way.

When areas move down to Level 0, the following changes will apply:

  • physical distancing of 1m in outdoor settings
  • physical distancing of 1m in indoor settings

Physical distancing requirements will be removed when all areas in Scotland move beyond Level 0, subject to review.

Beyond Level 0

We have set out the vaccine milestones we hope to reach over the summer, and the plan to take us out of COVID-19 restrictions. See our proposed timetable for these changes.

Our Strategic Framework update sets out what a move beyond Level 0 may look like. We will ensure that our information is clear and accessible as we enter a period where people need to make personal judgements, rather than rules set by government.

This means everyone playing their part by:

  • maintaining good hand hygiene
  • practising respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • wearing face coverings
  • ensuring there is good ventilation – open windows when indoors
  • continuing to engage with Test and Protect and self-isolate when symptomatic or have tested positive

A move beyond Level 0 will be conditional on all adults over 40 protected with two doses of the vaccination and a review of the epidemic being carried out ahead of the date for that move.

Fair work

As Scotland continues to ease lockdown restrictions, organisations including the Institute of Directors (IoD), SCDI, STUC, COSLA and SCVO have signed a fair work statement underlining the collaborative approach needed between employers, unions and workers to create and maintain safer  workplaces.

Working with trade unions or workforce representatives

This guidance is underpinned by a spirit of collaborative working between organisations and workers. Throughout this document, the term 'organisations', 'employer' and 'trade union' or 'workforce representatives' is used in that context. Recognising that organisations have a legal responsibility to maintain workplace health and safety and must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union. Or, if there is not one, a representative chosen by workers. Organisations cannot decide who the workforce representative will be.

Four nations approach

We are working with the UK Government to align our approach and guidance, where possible, and on the basis of scientific evidence on the levels of infection in Scotland. This guidance is intended to work alongside UK Government guidance and aims to assist organisations, businesses and workers to ensure a safer working environment. Readers will recognise consistent themes within this guidance and the UK Government’s  Working Safely during COVID-19 publications.

Business support

There has been an unprecedented package of support announced from both the Scottish and UK Governments to support businesses. This support should help many organisations preserve their business, maintain jobs and pay their workers throughout this crisis. Further business support information is available.



First published: 8 Mar 2021 Last updated: 19 Jul 2021 -