Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for laboratories and research facilities

Guidance for laboratories and research facilities, including those on university campuses, on safer working during the coronavirus pandemic.

35 page PDF

454.3 kB

35 page PDF

454.3 kB

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for laboratories and research facilities
Where we are now

35 page PDF

454.3 kB

Where we are now

On 23 February 2021, the First Minister announced the publication of the revised Strategic Framework, which sets out our strategic approach to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, while we strive to return to a more normal life for as many people as possible. To best tackle the virus, and protect people, we will continue to use a strategic approach to outbreak management based on five levels of protection.

A timetable for easing restrictions sets out how we will gradually move out of lockdown.

Find out the latest information about coronavirus in Scotland at www.gov.scot/coronavirus.

We will keep any protective measures under regular review – ensuring we minimise their use and time in force, to suppress the virus to the necessary level.

We will provide, as far as possible and with the resources available to us, support to businesses and individuals – to keep them safe, and to keep as much of society open as we can

While this updated version of the framework sets out a refreshed, strategic approach to the crisis, at an individual level, we should always remember the most simple but important advice - FACTS: 

Face coverings

Avoid crowds

Clean hands

Two metres

Self isolate

Further updates to this guidance will be provided as the current situation develops.

Read the Health and Safety Executive advice on home working and our guidance to support the continuation of homeworking.

Working from home as a public health measure has been a crucial factor in mitigating the transmission of the virus amongst the general population. Employers should continue to support employees to work from home wherever possible.

Full home working guidance provides more information on this.

If you are on the shielding list, you should follow the general advice for your local protection level. Further information on shielding can be found in the assessing risk section of this guidance.

Laboratories and research facilities have continued to operate under the 2 metre physical distancing rule throughout the pandemic. Organisations must ensure that at least 2 metre physical distancing is applied to all parts of a workplace, including staff canteens, and all communal areas including entrances, exits, break rooms, smoking areas.

Physical distancing duties are set out in Schedules 1 – 5 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. A person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service must take all reasonable measures:

  • to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
  • to ensure that they only admit people to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
  • to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)

Physical distancing requirements are set out in the schedules of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. A person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service must take all reasonable measures. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Scottish Government’s and NHS Scotland’s business and physical distancing guidance which still applies.

Face coverings are an important part of stopping the spread of coronavirus. The guidance on face coverings explains where you need to wear a face covering and exemptions from wearing one.

Protection levels for labs and research facilities

  • Level 0 - Open – WFH default where possible with a phased and limited return
  • Level 1 - Open – WFH default where possible
  • Level 2 - Open – WFH default where possible
  • Level 3 - Open – WFH default where possible
  • Level 4 - Open – WFH default where possible

Essential work has continued in labs and research facilities throughout the pandemic. Non-essential work in laboratories and research facilities resumed in phase 2 of the route map, including research libraries and research archives but was halted temporarily in level 4 and lockdown areas.

Following the publication of the updated Strategic Framework and the timetable for easing restrictions, non-essential work in laboratories and research facilities, including research libraries and research archives, can now be carried out in Protection Levels 0-4. In all Protection Levels, working from home remains the default position where this is possible. However, in areas that are subject to Protection Level 0, a phased and limited return to the workplace for any type of work can be started.

Use of libraries and archives

Staff, students and researchers should follow the guidance for public libraries in Scotland for levels 0 to 3.

In level 4, staff, students and research should refer to the guidance for colleges, universities and accommodation providers, where some extra mitigations are in place.

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 employers preserve their business, maintain jobs and pay their workers throughout this crisis.  Information on business support is available through findbusinesssupport.gov.scot. We urge all businesses to make use of this. In the event of closures for businesses involving laboratory and research work, all available support measures must be utilised to protect the jobs and incomes of the sector.


First published: 15 Jan 2021 Last updated: 29 Apr 2021 -