This guidance has been produced to support manufacturing businesses in preparing for the investigations that will take place if an outbreak of COVID-19 is suspected in their workforce. It also outlines how the Incident Management Team (IMT) will decide on the actions that need to be taken to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and the wider community. This supplements the information already provided in the published guidance for safe restart in the manufacturing sector.
Manufacturers should note that this document is intended as a guide to the types of questions that they are likely to be asked during an outbreak investigation, and the broad principles that the IMT will apply when making decisions. It is important to recognise that every outbreak is different, and there is no single set of defined criteria that can be used in every outbreak situation to determine the steps that need to be taken to protect public health, including whether a business should be closed or can remain open.
The IMT investigations, and actions taken in each investigation will depend on the specific circumstances associated with each manufacturing business and the nature of the risks involved. In order to minimise the impact on a business, it is critical to be able to demonstrate to the IMT that employers have taken appropriate steps to protect their workforce from the risks of COVID-19. This guidance points employers to relevant guidance, which will help them to:
- control the spread of COVID-19 in their business
- help them to identify what they need to do when an outbreak is identified in their workforce
- understand how health protection teams will decide on the actions that need to be taken to protect public health
This guidance is based on guidance to support Food Business Operators in preparing for investigations that will take place when an outbreak of COVID-19 is suspected in their workforce, originally produced by Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and Public Health Scotland (PHS). Food Business Operators should draw on that guidance.