Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for call centres and customer contact centre environments

Guidance for call centre or customer contact centre environments on safe operation during the coronavirus pandemic.

9 page PDF

234.4 kB

9 page PDF

234.4 kB

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for call centres and customer contact centre environments
Training and compliance

9 page PDF

234.4 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

Workforce training

Every workplace should look and feel substantially different for workers. Physical distancing, good ventilation and enhanced hygiene and advice on wearing face coverings will change how workplaces operate and how they are cleaned.

Training methods should clearly communicate organisation-specific actions put in place to promote and support physical distancing enhanced hygiene and the wearing of face coverings. 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 and the wearing of face coverings 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

Compliance

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.

Information about involving the workforce in a risk based approach.

As a minimum we expect:

  • an equality, human rights and risk based approach to be followed to protect the health and safety of workers and ensure the longer-term economic viability of organisations
  • workers to be fully engaged in this process, through trade union or workforce representatives

Organisations must take reasonable steps to identify and mitigate against risks in the workplace. To do this they must think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether they are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm.

This is known as a risk assessment and is something that organisations are required to do by law. If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down. Although it may be helpful to do so.

A risk assessment for all pregnant workers and new and breastfeeding mothers should take into account:

  • their job
  • any pre-existing health conditions
  • use of public transport
  • physical distancing guidance relating to coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • whether the workplace risk is greater than in everyday life outside the workplace, including getting to and from work

The Health and Safety Executive’s short guide can help to support employers with what they need to do to comply with the law. 

The Scottish Government’s safer workplaces joint statement with Police Scotland, Health and Safety Executive and local authorities makes clear that it is essential that organisations also carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment. These should be developed with trade union health and safety or workforce representatives.

For workplaces without union representation, union health and safety representatives are available upon request by email to safety@stuc.org.uk to support the development of workplace risk assessments.


Contact

Email: SaferWorkplaces.CovidGuidanceQueries@gov.scot

First published: 26 Nov 2020 Last updated: 4 Feb 2021 -