Cleaner in rubber gloves disinfecting a worktop

To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, people who feel unwell should stay at home and seek medical advice. If employees are worried about their symptoms, or those of a family member or colleague, they should contact NHS 111.

The following procedures should be put in place to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Ensure all frequently touched objects and surfaces such as communal doors, handles, handrails, telephones and toilets are cleaned with disinfectant on a regular basis.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash with soap and water:
    • Before leaving home
    • After the use of public transport
    • On arrival at work
    • After using the toilet
    • After breaks
    • Before preparing food
    • Before eating any food
    • Before leaving work
    • On arrival at home.
  • Employees should maintain at least three feet of space between themselves and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Employees must cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediately dispose of the tissue in a bin and wash their hands thoroughly.
  • Employees must avoid touching their hands, nose and mouth.

If a colleague or member of the public becomes unwell in the workplace, they should be moved to an enclosed area at least two metres away from other people.

The unwell person should contact NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency.  If the person is unable to call themselves, a member of staff should make the call on their behalf.

The unwell individual should not touch any other person, surface or objects and should be advised to cover their mouths with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. The tissue should immediately be disposed of in a bag which should be put in a bin. If they do not have a tissue, they should be advised to use the crook of their arm.

If an employee has had contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus, they should get advice from their local health protection team. Those who have had close contact will be advised to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the confirmed case. 

If an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19:

  • Advice should be sought from the health protection team.
  • The colleague must be advised to remain in their home and seek medical advice as a matter of urgency.
  • All surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned thoroughly with disinfectant.
  • All high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, handrails and telephones must be cleaned thoroughly with disinfectant.
  • Contact your health protection team to dispose of any waste.

Click here for the latest information on the coronavirus as well as guidance to support your employees’ wellbeing.

If you are based in Scotland, the Scottish Government have announced that a helpline has been set up by Scottish Enterprise to provide businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19. The telephone number is: 0300 303 0660.

Further advice and support about the virus in Scotland can be found here.

ACAS has also issued advice for employers and employees on dealing with coronavirus.

You can also download a poster on preventing the spread of the infection and our guide to good hand washing technique.