NEW WORKPLACE COVID SAFETY RULES FOR SCOTLAND AND WALES

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In Scotland new regulations were introduced on 17th December. Under previous regulations, employers were required to have regard to guidance published by the Scottish Government. The new regulations expand on this, and now require businesses to take measures based on official guidance to reduce the incidence and spread of the virus.

Specifically, the regulations state that anyone who is responsible for a place of worship, carrying on a business or providing a service must:

  • have regard to the guidance about measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus; and
  • take such of these measures as are reasonably practicable to minimise the incidence and spread of coronavirus on the premises, for example measures which limit close face-to-face interaction, such as supporting working from home, making adjustments to the premises and putting in place protective measures such as signage, screens and other mitigations

The official guidance “Guidance is Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces” can be found at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-general-guidance-for-safer-workplaces/pages/employer-and-employee-responsibilities/

This includes measures such as supporting employees to work from home where reasonably practical and the legal requirement for everyone, including visitors and volunteers, to wear a face covering in indoor communal areas and shared spaces at work unless they are exempt from doing so. The definition of a “shared space at work” is very broad and includes areas such as open plan offices, workstations, training and meeting rooms etc. However face coverings are not required when you can stay 2 metres away from other people (increased from previous 1m guidance), or when there are screens or partitions in place.

The Welsh government has also announced that from 27th December nightclubs must close and there will be a 2 metre rule on social distancing in offices and extra measures to protect customers and staff. At the moment there is very little extra detail on what these measures will involve however, the full press release can be found at: https://gov.wales/new-advice-keep-wales-safe-christmas