Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vehicle lessons

Published: 24 Aug 2020
Last updated: 16 Nov 2020 - see all updates

Guidance on the safe re-start of driving and motorcycle lessons.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): vehicle lessons
Workforce planning

Workforce planning

Workforce planning

Consideration should be given within the risk assessment as to whether sector restart might have greater impact on some groups than others depending on social circumstances, health conditions or legally protected characteristics.  

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Scotland can provide advice on a range of issues such as:

  • non-discrimination
  • reasonable adjustments for disabled people and communication with employees on equality issues
  • support for pregnant employees or employees on maternity leave
  • flexible working for those with caring responsibilities
  • how to deal with harassment at work

Employers still have legal obligations to make sure that decisions they make in response to Coronavirus do not directly or indirectly discriminate against employees with protected characteristics. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced guidance to help with decision-making as you consider restarting work.

Close the Gap, through their 'Think Business Think Equality' toolkit, have produced guidance on employers supporting employees affected by domestic abuse during the pandemic and a more general online self-assessment resource for employers on domestic abuse. The  RNIB  also provide information on employing partially sighted and blind workers during COVID, and a COVID risk assessment tool.

Protect Scotland contact tracing app

Protect Scotland is a voluntary app that is an additional part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service. Having the app should never be a requirement for any workplace. 

The app complements but does not replace manual contact tracing. It enhances contact tracing and quickly alerts app users that are at risk as they have come into close contact (less than 2m for 15 minutes or more) with an app user that has since tested positive for COVID-19.

Further information about the contact tracing app for employers, workers and customers is available.  

Temperature checks

We do not recommend the use of temperature checking employees as a means of testing for COVID-19 due to the low efficacy rate of this method.

Workforce support

Supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not 

Nobody should go to work if their workplace is closed under current government regulations.

As a minimum we expect:

  • working from home to continue, where possible. Read our guidance on working from home
  • companies to take travel to work and childcare considerations into account in decisions around a phased restart
  • employees who are not shielding but identified as at increased risk from COVID-19 are able to attend work in person but should strictly follow physical distancing measures
  • new arrangements to be tested and modified through collaboration between employers and employees
  • companies to take travel to work and childcare considerations into account in decisions around a phased restart

Employee health and wellbeing

Employers should ensure the organisation culture is inclusive, with the aim that every employee should feel that they are returning to a supportive, caring and safe environment. The pandemic has had an unequal impact across the workforce, as different employee groups, and individuals, will have been affected in diverse ways according to factors such as their job role, and demographic/personal circumstances. Therefore, it is important organisations foster a fair and inclusive working environment that does not tolerate discrimination. There is also a risk of victimisation of those infected, suspected, or more vulnerable to COVID-19 which should be addressed.

The following guides from the Health and Safety Executive provide useful sources of information:

Individual health circumstances and protected characteristics should be considered and discussed with employees before prioritising who is asked to return to work and when.

This should recognise the protective measures required to minimise health risks to vulnerable or shielded workers or those living in vulnerable or shielded households, exploring whenever possible how these staff can work from home.

Consideration of health circumstances and protected characteristics should be given to this as part of the risk assessment process. 

Permission should be sought from individuals before collecting any information on health conditions of those within their household. 

It is important to take into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics. This could include involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or any steps taken may be inappropriate or challenging for them.

Consideration should be given as to whether any particular measures or adjustments are required to fulfil duties under the equalities legislation. Reasonable adjustments should be made to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers should be assessed.

It is important to make sure the steps implemented do not have an unjustifiably negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

For example given that there is some evidence which suggests that COVID-19 may impact disproportionately on some groups (Minority Ethnic communities), employers should ensure that Occupational Health Service provide practical support to Minority Ethnic staff, particularly where they are anxious about protecting themselves and their families.

Advice for those at highest risk

Shielding was paused on 1 August.  Since then we have been advising those who are at highest risk should they contract coronavirus, including those who were formerly asked to shield, to follow the same guidance as the rest of the population stringently and with extra care.  The best protection for people who are most at risk from the virus is to stop its spread in our communities.  Building on the support we put in place at the start of the pandemic, we are providing the information, advice and tools people need to make choices about their day-to-day activities and interactions, including work.

The Strategic Framework introduces enhanced advice at each protection level to protect people with the highest clinical risk, setting out clearly how advice will change depending on the rates of infection in local areas.  As the levels in a local area change, the protection advice for people on the shielding list in that area will change as well. People at highest risk should still follow the advice for the general public as a minimum, but these levels provide additional advice for areas like work, schools, shopping and contact with others.

 The majority of workplaces can be made safe.  We are not advising people to stop going into work if you cannot work from home, but advise them to ask their employer to use the workplace risk assessment tool found at www.mygov.scot/shielding to support discussions with their employer so that the necessary adjustments to their workplace can be made. If their workplace cannot be made safe, at Levels 2 and 3, we are suggesting they can discuss whether they need a fit note with their GP or consultant.

At Level 4, the Chief Medical Officer will issue a letter to people on the shielding list which is similar to a fit note and which will last for as long as the individual’s area is under Level 4 restrictions. This letter can be used in the few cases where it is not possible to make their workplace safe.  This does not automatically mean they should not attend work.

We are also asking people on the shielding list to sign up to our text message service to get updates to your mobile. To sign up they need to send their Community Health Index (CHI) number to 0786 006 4525.

People who need to self-isolate

Individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance should not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 as well as those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms.

All workers should be supported to follow up to date health protection advice on isolation if they or someone in their household exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. Advice within workplaces should continually remind workers of the symptoms to look for and clear advice should be provided on how to respond if symptoms become apparent while at work.

In line with Test and Protect everyone should follow the NHS Inform guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows coronavirus symptoms.

Advice for employers on helping staff who need to self-isolate is also available.

Planning should recognise that ongoing physical distancing measures required to reduce the spread of the virus may mean that the number of employees able to be accommodated safely in the workplace is limited. The workforce may have questions or concerns about returning to work. Companies are encouraged to work with trade union or workforce representatives to enable individuals to work from home while self-isolating, if appropriate. If able to work from home, employees should continue to do so after a period of self-isolation has ended. 

Pay for workers who are sheltering, self-isolating, sick or balancing care responsibilities is likely to be a source of concern for employees. Companies should work with trade union or workforce representatives to provide early guidance to workforces on processes and support for individuals affected by these issues. Again opportunities to facilitate home working where feasible should be actively pursued and maintained.

Companies should also acknowledge the range of factors likely to cause stress or anxiety amongst employees, ranging from living with lockdown arrangements to concerns about travel, schools, caring responsibilities and relatives impacted by the virus, amongst others. This may have implications for mental health with managers encouraged to be conscious of how these factors may impact on the well-being of individual staff members. Companies and trade union or workforce representatives should be alert to this and direct anyone experiencing mental health issues towards available support.


First published: 24 Aug 2020 Last updated: 16 Nov 2020 -