The Coronavirus Regulations impose strict restrictions on gatherings, the movement of people, and the operation of businesses, some of which are required to close temporarily.
Businesses that are permitted to operate, or premises that are allowed to open (business and premises that must remain closed: Closure of businesses and premises: coronavirus (COVID 19)) must do so safely in a way that complies with the Coronavirus Regulations, in addition to other legal obligations imposed on employers (such as health and safety legislation).
- Care: our health and well-being comes first
- Comply: the laws that keep us safe must be obeyed
- Involve: we will share responsibility for safe work
- Adapt: we all need to change how we work
- Communicate: we must all understand what to do
Further guidance on the key principles is available on the Welsh Government website.
This document is to help employers, employees, and the self-employed and others (such as volunteers) working in or at people's homes (where the work does not require close physical contact) to understand how to work safely, taking measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The Welsh Government has published the Coronavirus Control Plan for Wales setting out how we will all work together to manage the risks of COVID-19 and it is recommended that you review the plan.
People who work in or at other people’s homes might include the following (these lists are not exhaustive and only provide examples):
- Workers in homes: such as repair services, fitters, meter readers, plumbers, cleaners, cooks, surveyors, removals workers, film crews, landlords, estate agents, letting agents, house removal firms,
- Workers delivering to or working outside homes: such as delivery drivers, window cleaners, landscapers and gardeners.
- Volunteers that may be, for example, providing ad-hoc help to vulnerable people. Guidance on volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic is available.
This guidance does not directly apply to anyone who spends all their time with one single household, such as nannies or in-home carers, or other types of home help. There is specific guidance for nannies: Advice for nannies and their employers: coronavirus and specific advice for health and social care professionals.
How to use this guidance
The Welsh Government has issued guidance notes under the Coronavirus Regulations on taking all reasonable measures to minimise exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public and Face Coverings: guidance on measures to be taken by employers and managers of premises. These guidance notes are referred to collectively in this document as the “Statutory Guidance”.
This document builds on the requirements in the Statutory Guidance with practical advice as well as signposting other sector-specific and other relevant guidance. It gives practical considerations of how safe practices could be applied when working in someone home. Each business must comply with the Coronavirus Regulations and have regard to the Statutory Guidance and should use this document to help them decide what specific actions they could take to operate safely, depending on the nature of the business including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.
In the event of any discrepancy between this guidance and the Statutory Guidance, you should have regard to the Statutory Guidance. This guidance is not a substitute for legal advice, which you should consider obtaining where necessary, nor does it supersede any legal obligations including in relation to health and safety, employment or equalities. It is important that if you are a business or an employer, you continue to comply with your existing obligations including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. Failure to comply with the legislation could result in enforcement action by the relevant authorities.
The Coronavirus Regulations set out a specific and separate system of enforcement. This means that enforcement officers from local authorities can require certain (specified) measures to be taken in relation to premises, and they can if necessary close them. Closure can be required either because specified measures are not subsequently taken or because the breach of the requirements is sufficiently serious to justify closing a premises immediately or with only very limited notice. The Welsh Government has issued guidance for enforcement officers that you may wish to review so that you understand what action can be taken if you fail to comply with the Coronavirus Regulations and/or do not take account of the Statutory Guidance.
When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers and contractors, as well as your employees and anyone else on the premises.
To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other Health and Safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with the recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers.
We expect that this document will be updated over time. This version is up to date as of 9 November. You can check for updates at Keep Wales Safe - at work.
The Welsh Government reviews the Coronavirus Regulations every 3 weeks. These reviews provide an opportunity to assess the effectiveness and consequences of the provisions and may result in amendments to the regulations. It is important to note that if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases, new rules may be introduced to reduce the spread of the virus and protect public health outside of the standard 3 week review period. For example, an increase in the transmission of COVID-19, either across Wales or in a specific locality, might affect what is considered a “reasonable measure”, with more measures potentially being needed. In these circumstances, there may be also more activities where the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is such that the only means of minimising the risk is not to do it. It is therefore important to regularly revisit your COVID-19 risk assessment to ensure that the actions you are taken are in line with the most recent regulations.
1. Managing Risk
Key point: To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures
All those responsible for work, and premises open to the public, must take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on the premises, and reduce the risk of people who have been on the premises from spreading the virus.
Where it is reasonably practicable for a person to work at home, employers should support them to do so by being as flexible as possible and making adjustments to ensure that staff work from home wherever that is possible. This may include issuing staff with laptops or mobile phones and facilitating communication from wherever members of staff may be.
Employees should not be required or placed under pressure to attend a workplace setting if there is not a clearly demonstrated business need for them to do so. Employers who are considering requiring their staff to attend workplace settings should first assess whether alternative arrangements could meet the majority of the employer’s needs. This should be discussed with staff or representatives of staff.
It is recognised that people who work in other’s people’s home cannot work from their own home. However, there are circumstances where remote working might be appropriate; for example, the initial discussion with a householder about the scope of works could be done via telephone or video call. This could also involve video tours of the homes to show, for example, leaks or internal damage, rather than going to the home for an in-person quote.
Where there is a demonstrable business need for staff to attend a workplace, including working in someone else’s home, you should take all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained between any persons on the premises. This requirement is referred to in this document as the ‘physical distancing duty’. The requirement to maintain 2m distance does not apply to persons from the same household or an extended household, or between a carer and the person being assisted by the carer.
In addition, you must take all other reasonable measures to minimise exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, for example, by:
- Limiting the level of face-to-face interactions
- Using physical barriers.
- Increased, environmental cleanliness and providing reminders about their importance.
- Washing hands well for 20 seconds with soap and drying thoroughly, or using alcohol based hand gels, before and after close contact.
- Minimising loud noises which will require people to shout over them.
- Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) where sector specific guidance says it is necessary.
- Recording the provision of lead names and contact details to support Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) and undertaking any necessary TTP actions required by employers.
- Ensure that those with COVID-19 type symptoms are not present on the premises.
You must also provide information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure.
Key point: Work carried out in and at other people’s homes can continue, as long as it is managed in a safe way
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue providing that workers are well and have no COVID-19 type symptoms and the 4 steps described above are implemented. This means doing everything you can to maintain 2m distance between those carrying out the work and between members of the household, and following hand washing and respiratory hygiene practices.
Before you decide to undertake any new work at someone else’s home it is recommended that you consider carefully whether new rules have been introduced by the Welsh Government in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 cases or new national rules. Whilst these restrictions might not prevent you from working in other people’s homes, the Welsh Government hopes that people understand the severity of the health risk we face, and therefore considers carefully if work could be postponed until the end of any period in which additional restrictions are in place.
No work should be carried out by anyone that:
- Has been told to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect because they have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in recent close contact with a confirmed/positive case of COVID-19, and are still within their self-isolation period as set out in the guidance;
- Has COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, and are waiting for a test result;
- Is a confirmed positive case and are isolating according to the guidance, but still have a fever, or have had a fever within the last 48 hours;
- Is a member of the same household or extended household as someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19, and are still within the self-isolation period as set out in the guidance;
- Has personally received a negative test for COVID-19 but are a member of the same household/extended household as someone who has a tested positive, and are still within the self-isolation period set out in the guidance.
If an employee has a positive test result and/or is told to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect as a contact of a positive case then they should inform you, as their employer, as soon as is possible and in line with your sickness policies, and in any case before they are due to next attend the workplace and they must not attend the workplace.
You should allow or enable an employee to self-isolate if they have been told to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test, Trace and Protect.
You should not threaten the security of an employee’s job in order to persuade them to return to the workplace before their isolation period ends.
Helping your staff to stay at home for the required self-isolation period will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection households can pass on to others in the community and therefore, potentially, to the rest of your workforce, to you and to your family.
If possible, and if they are well enough (if they are a confirmed case of COVID-19), you should support staff to work from home while self-isolating. If they cannot work from home then refer to the guidance for employers relating to statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.
Before an employee returns to work after a period of self-isolation, you should confirm that:
- If they had symptoms, that they have had a test and received a negative result.
- If they were the confirmed case of COVID-19, they have completed their required period of self-isolation and do not have or have not had a fever, in the last 48 hours;
- If a member of their household or extended household was the confirmed case of COVID-19, they have completed their required period of self-isolation and have not personally developed COVID-19 symptoms late in their isolation period.
If the answer to any of these scenarios is ‘no’ then the employee cannot return to work and you should not insist that they do.
Work-related travel in and from Wales must follow the requirements set out in the travel guidance. Anyone returning to Wales from a non-exempt country (any country that is not on the exempt country list) must self-isolate for 10 days and cannot attend the workplace, and should follow the requirements set out in the travel self-isolation guidance.
Anyone that develops COVID-19 symptoms at work should be sent home to self-isolate, and their workplace cleaned in accordance with guidance for cleaning in non-healthcare settings. Further guidance is provided in Section 3.8 below on what to do if there is more than one case of confirmed COVID-19 associated with your workforce within a 10-day period.
1.2 Thinking about risk
Key point: That a COVID-19 risk assessment is carried out.
You must assess and manage the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace, including working in someone else’s home, and take measures to minimise exposure to the virus. Additionally, if you are a business operator or employer, you also have a legal responsibility to protect employees and contractors; and anyone else on the premises, from risk to their health and safety.
Your risk assessment must address the risks of COVID-19, having regard to the Coronavirus Regulations and the Statutory Guidance and using this document to inform your decisions and control measures, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.
A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control risks. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Managing risks and risk assessments at work.
If you employ people then you have a duty to consult your staff on health and safety with meaningful discussion with them and/or their recognised trade union (if one exists), before commencing work. At its most effective, full involvement of your staff creates a culture where relationships between employers and workers are based on collaboration, trust and joint problem solving. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work and how you will manage risks from COVID-19. The people who do the work are often the best people to understand the risks and will have a view on how to work safely. Involving them in making decisions shows that you take their health and safety seriously. You must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.
If you are required by law to have a written risk assessment (if you have five or more employees) then significant findings must be written down and control measures put in place. Risk assessments are a legal requirement for pregnant women, no matter the size of the business and further guidance is available for employers of pregnant women here.
Your assessment should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 (those that have been shielding or are in the increased risk group). The online COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool is a two-stage risk assessment for NHS and Social Care workers, which is suitable for use for all staff who are vulnerable or at risk of contracting COVID¬19, including people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Risk assessments should include staff that are working from home.
If an individual is concerned about the safety measures in any premises where work takes place or a service is provided, then they can report this to the Public Protection services of the relevant local authority (which include environmental health and health & safety).
Where the enforcing authority, such as the local authority, identifies employers or business operators who are not taking action to comply with relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover businesses not taking all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If concerns still cannot be resolved, an employee can take the following steps:
- Contact their employee representative.
- Contact their trade union or association if they have one.
- Use the HSE form available here.
- Contact HSE by phone 0300 790 6787.
If an individual is concerned about the safety measures in any premises where a work is undertaken or that is open to the public, then they can report this to the Public Protection services of the relevant local authority (which include environmental health and health and safety).
Where the enforcing authority - such as the local authority - identifies that those that responsible for work are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover not taking all reasonable measures to ensure the 2m distancing requirements.
1.3 Sharing your risk assessment
Key Point: Letting others know about your risk assessment reassures everyone involved in the work
Key Point: Letting others know about your risk assessment reassures everyone involved in the work.
We encourage all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and customers that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate mitigating actions. You should share your actions with your workforce. If possible, you should publish this information on your website, particularly where you are an employer with over 50 workers. A notice that you may wish to share with your workforce and/or customers to show that you have followed this guidance is available here.
2. Practical steps you can take when working in someone else’s home
Key point: There are extra things to think about when working in someone’s home compared to a normal workplace.
These might include things like standing back when they open the door, taking your own food and drink, and taking your breaks outside. The most important thing is clear communication with householders before any work takes place.
Thorough preparation and communication with householders are the most important things to do before arriving to work at someone's house. This means that tasks can be planned in a safe way. There are a number of things that workers will need to know before arriving at a property, for example; how many people live at the property, whether there are pets, children, or elderly people who may have specific needs. Subsection 3.1 provides for more guidance on managing maintaining physical distance in various scenarios. There is additional COVID-19 advice for pet owners, which should be consulted in advance if households do have pets.
As outlined, work should not be carried out at someone else’s house if any member of the household, or extended household, is self-isolating or showing COVID-19 type symptoms. You should therefore ask the householder in advance of agreeing to undertake the work if any of these circumstances apply. On the day worker’s arrive at the property, and before they enter, they should reaffirm with the householder that no one in the household, or extended household, has any symptoms. If they do, the worker should not enter the property and arrange with the householder to return at a later date.
Additionally, as stated in Subsection 1.1, workers who have COVID-19 type symptoms, or who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not attend the workplace or another person’s home and should self-isolate in accordance with the guidance. Furthermore, if a member of a workers household/extended household has COVID-19 type symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19, they should not attend the workplace or another person’s home but should self-isolate at home for the required period. No one who has been advised to self-isolate as part of Test, Trace, Protect should attend the workplace or another person’s home.
Where workers are returning to Wales from a non-exempt country, regardless of whether their journey was for business or pleasure, they will need to self-isolate for 10 days and cannot attend the workplace or another person’s home. The non-exempt country list is updated regularly and should be checked before departure and on return.
Householders may be worried or anxious about having work carried out at their homes. They may not understand that they are vulnerable, or even that they have symptoms. Some people may not have left their homes in a number of weeks and may be anxious about social interaction (even from a distance), so reassurance is important and you should be kind and compassionate when speaking to them.
It is important that householders understand the scope of the work that is to be carried out. This includes discussing with them things like:
- How long it will take to complete;
- How many workers will be required at their property;
- Any steps you are taking to reduce the risk of transmission and the steps that will be taken to maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene;
- The facilities that are available at their property, and whether workers will need to use their bathroom and/or kitchen.
It is also important that householders understand what workers might need them to do while the work is being carried out, especially in terms of limiting movement in shared spaces like corridors or entrance hallways. For more detailed guidance on physical distancing while working in someone else's home, see Subsections 3.1 - 3.3.
Public Health Wales have issued an advisory notice for housing, health and social care settings, where you can find links to updated information and examples of best practice.
2.2 Steps that will usually be needed when working in other people’s homes
- Communicating with the client or household prior to undertaking any work. Make sure you have identified any potential issues with access to the property or working inside, and made a plan for dealing with those issues before carrying out any work.
- Understanding the space you will be working in. Your preparation will be very different for working in an empty house versus a home that people are currently living in.
- Checking if anyone, other than household members, will be in the home when you are there - such as nurses, or carers. You may need to co-ordinate access with a number of other individuals so that everyone can work safely.
- Confirming if anyone in the household has any COVID-19 symptoms. If they do, then workers should not attend but arrange to return at a later date. If attendance is unavoidable (because of an urgent or emergency situation), additional precautions should be taken to keep workers and householders completely separate from each other. Workers should not go into a symptomatic household without personal protective equipment (PPE). If this is necessary, training should be undertaken so they understand how to do this safely. No worker who has symptoms, or who should be self-isolating or is a contact of someone who is self-isolating should attend work.
- Giving prior notice for those in shared living situations. If you are planning on carrying out work in a block of flats, or a house of multiple occupancy (HMO), you need to give sufficient notice for people who live there to prepare themselves, particularly if the work involves use of communal spaces like hallways or entrances and exits. Giving 3 days written notice is advised, as this gives householders time to plan around your work. Putting notes through doors and putting up posters or notes on doors is a good way to advise people of any work that might inconvenience them.
- Planning ahead for breaks. Take your own food and drink and take breaks outside, or in your own vehicle, where you can. If you do need to use householders’ bathrooms, the last person to use them should clean them in between uses.
- Using fewer workers wherever possible. If more than one worker is necessary to carry out the work, then you should take precautions, for example, by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ that are then allocated to specific homes where work is carried out, ensuring the number of people entering someone else’s home is the smallest number possible.
- Keeping 2m apart. When working in someone else’s homes ensure a 2m physical distance is maintained between workers, and workers and household members. See further information on physical distancing in Subsections 3.1 - 3.3 below.
- Being clear on all safety precautions that will be taken. Workers may need to account for things that could challenge the ability to maintain 2m distance within a household, such as the presence of pets, or householders with conditions like dementia. To mitigate this, a family member could be asked to assist in controlling the environment. If possible, either run through all safety measures by phone or using remote working tools, to agree them in advance. This will limit the number of times you will need to attend the household and ensure that you work efficiently; therefore limiting the amount of time you need to spend in the household to complete the work.
- Keeping updated on the latest guidance on hand washing and respiratory hygiene. Consider how it can be applied when you are working in other people’s homes. This can might include:
- Good and frequent hand hygiene: When working in someone else's home, the preferred hand hygiene option should be an alcohol based hand sanitiser. You should sanitise your hands often; especially after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose or if you touch frequently used objects and surfaces in the home. To minimise cross contamination at touch-points (like door handles) in the home, washing hands using the householders’ facilities should be a last resort and hand sanitiser should be used at all times. This only applies to working in other people’s homes and hand washing should be the preferred option in any other circumstances. If workers have access to outdoor areas, they can wash their hands using their own soap and cold water. Workers should bring their own hand hygiene provisions to avoid sharing (alcohol based hand sanitiser, soap, water, towel - which should be taken home and washed at the end of the day). If washing hands, make sure to wash them for 20 seconds each time, using soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This reduces the transmission of germs. Tissues must be disposed of immediately - remember to 'catch it, bin it, kill it’, preferably in a bin outside, so it doesn’t remain in the household. If this is not possible tissues should be bagged and taken with you when you leave, and disposed of in a bin immediately afterwards. You must always wash your hands after coughing or sneezing. If tissues are not available, always sneeze into the crook of your arm rather than into your hands.
- Frequently cleaning surfaces and objects that are regularly used. This can include door handles and guide rails, for example. Use your regular cleaning products to do this. Increased cleaning reduces the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
- Washing work clothes at the end of the day. Work clothes must be washed at the end of every day, preferably as soon as workers arrive home to avoid chances of cross contamination with members of their own household. Do not shake dirty work clothes prior to washing. If workers are working in multiple households throughout the day, they could consider using a new set of clothes for each household, if practical. Workers should not share work clothes.
2.3 Working in homes where people were previously shielding
Key point: People that have been asked to shield are at a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19
Work can be undertaken in a household that includes a person that is currently or was previously shielding however, extra precautions should be taken when carrying out this work.
The Welsh Government paused shielding on 16 August 2020, however, if you work in a home where someone was previously shielding, the most important thing is to make contact with them beforehand to understand the practical implications of working in their home. It is important that everyone understands the risks faced by people who were shielding so you can work safely in their homes. It is also important to remember they might not have left the house for some months and might be very anxious about having contact with ‘outside’ people, so will need reassurance that their safety is being taken seriously.
The Welsh Government has published guidance for people who have been told to take shielding measures. If you may be working in a home like this, you should read the guidance so you understand the risks they face. There is also guidance on what to do if you share a home with someone who is shielding, and these points are also relevant for people working in the homes of the vulnerable.
In addition to the steps described in section 2.2 above, when working in a home where someone is currently shielding, you should also consider implementing the following:
- Keep physically separated from the people that were previously shielding. If possible, they should be on another floor, in a room far from the work, or in the garden if weather permits. If this is not possible, then you must ensure that a 2m distance is maintained between those undertaking the work and the people that were previously shielding.
- Minimise the time you spend in the household. Complete the work as efficiently as possible to minimise the time you spend at the property.
- Be extra vigilant with hand hygiene. Everyone should follow the good hand hygiene practices described in Subsection 2.2 in all circumstances, however, increased vigilance when you are working in the home of someone who is shielding will help to minimise the risk of exposing them to COVID-19.
- Consider using PPE. It may be appropriate when working in the home of a person that is shielding to use PPE (PPE is not usually necessary unless sector specific guidance says it is). If, following a risk assessment, you consider it necessary then make sure any used PPE is bagged and safely disposed of in household waste. See Section 5 for more details on the use of PPE.
3. Working safely
Physical distancing – overview
3.1 Key point: When working in someone else’s home, all practical measures must be taken to stay 2m away from members of that household at all times
As described in section 1.1 above, when appropriate, use remote working tools to limit the direct contact you need to have with a household. When you carry out work in someone’s home, the Coronavirus Regulations require that you should take all reasonable measures to maintain a 2m distance from you and members of the household.
Physical distancing rules apply to all work that is carried out in all parts of the household; including entrances and exits, toilets/bathroom, kitchen, garden and so on. It may be challenging to maintain physical distancing in some homes, particularly if there is limited space. You may need to ask the householder to carry out some physical changes, such as leaving certain doors closed, or moving/removing furniture.
You must also take steps to maintain a 2m distance in the following scenarios:
- When you arrive and leave the household
- During the time you are working in someone’s home; and
- Any travel you need to undertake during the time you work (for example, a team of surveyors, or a team of cleaners, travelling to different households). Further guidance on physical distancing when travelling to and from work is provided in Subsection 3.3 below.
If more than one worker is required to carry out the work, a 2m distance must also be maintained between all workers as well as between workers and household members.
As outlined in Subsection 1.2, if you employ other workers that are present at the household, you have a legal responsibility to protect them, and anyone else on the premises, from risk to their health and safety.
3.2 Practical steps you can take to ensure 2m physical distancing is maintained when working in someone else’s home
- Agreeing access points in advance. If available, agree with householders that you will use access points that are the closest to the area where the work will be carried out, for example, if a side door is near the boiler/fridge/plumbing. This will limit worker’s movement around the house. Agree that, whilst the workers are present, household members will not use the same access point, where possible.
- Upon arrival, once you have knocked the door standing well back. Allow for a 2m distance between you and the door.
- Allowing anyone who lives inside the home to move safely inside, preferably into another room if possible, before you begin to enter. Remember that some people may have mobility issues, so give them time to move away from you. Make sure all steps to keep physically distanced from householders are explained and agreed in advance.
- Asking household members to keep their distance. Explain the need to keep 2m apart while the work is carried out. If possible, recommend that they stay in another room, or in the garden if weather permits.
- Checking if internal doors should be left open or closed. In order to minimise contact by workers with door handles (that will be frequently touched by householders) it can be useful to leave internal doors open. However, closed doors can act as barrier for people who need to be kept separated (for example, those that are shielding, refer to Subsection 2.3 above). Depending on the circumstance, agree in advance with householders whether internal doors will be open or closed and plot your work route accordingly.
- Identifying busy areas across the household – such as, where people move to, from or through, for example, stairs and corridors/hallways. Agree with household members and workers that movement within these areas is to be kept to a minimum to avoid people coming into contact with each other.
- Limiting the number of workers present. Only workers that are necessary to complete the scope of work should be present at the household. Consider carefully the need for workers to be present if the house where the work is being carried out has limited space. It may be necessary for one worker to complete a task and leave the property, allowing another worker to enter to complete a different task.
- Minimising the movement of workers inside the house. Agree the area in which the work will be carried out and any route in and out, where possible, limit worker’s movements to this area.
- Agreeing with householders that they will aim to remain separated from the agreed work area. Where possible, the majority of people in the household should move out of the way of the agreed work area before the workers arrive (this could be into the garden, or bedrooms).
- Requesting that householders open windows. Open windows will ventilate the property and, where possible and if it is safe to do so, householders should be asked to open them before workers arrive.
- Using mobile phones. If different workers are carrying out work in multiple rooms, mobile phones could be used for conversations between them. If it is necessary to discuss matters related to the on-going work with a householder, it may also be appropriate to communicate with them via mobile phone, for example, if they were previously shielding and are perhaps separated from the workers in a different room.
- Planning breaks. Where possible, take any breaks outside, or in your own vehicle. Plan breaks in advance and tell householders when workers will be taking a break so that they can avoid corridors/hallways, access points during that time.
- Discussing factors that might complicate plans to stay physically distanced. Make sure you have discussed your plans to maintain physical distancing with the householder in advance so that you are aware of any factors that might cause complications. Try to agree ways to cope with the issues with householders.
3.3 Physical distancing when travelling to and from work
Key point: Transportation to and from work can make physical distancing difficult, or impossible if there are multiple people sharing the same vehicle. However, there are practical things you can do to limit the chances of transmission in these circumstances.
Detailed guidance has been published to help employers, employees and the self-employed with the practical steps they could take if working in or from vehicles. If possible, workers should use their own mode of transport rather than travelling together (unless it is with someone from their own household, or extended household).
If workers have no option but to travel together, for example with delivery or removals teams, then you should familiarise yourself with the detail in the Working in or from vehicles guidance, as well as taking the following steps:
- Limiting the number of people per vehicle. Wherever possible journeys should be made with the same individuals in the same vehicle (where vehicle pools are in operation).
- Keeping good ventilation within vehicles by opening windows.
- Limiting face-to-face contact between passengers. Where possible, passengers should face away from one another to reduce risk of transmission.
- Cleaning vehicles regularly. Standard cleaning products can be used to clean vehicles. Handles and other frequently touched surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned. Individuals cleaning the vehicles should wear gloves remembering to avoid touching their face whilst wearing them. Used gloves should be disposed of in a bin immediately after removing them and the individual should then wash their hands.
- Wherever possible, employers or agencies should match workers to local households, limiting the travelling distance and potentially offering an opportunity for workers to use active travel, such as working or cycling.
3.4 Minimising risk of exposure to COVID-19
Key point: You must take extra precautions to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The precautions you may need to take will depend on whether closer working is required that makes observing the 2m rule difficult.
When working inside someone else’s home, as well as keeping 2m apart where possible, you must also take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Statutory Guidance has been produced to help people understand what “taking all reasonable measures” means, which you must have regard to.
The precautions you will need to take will depend on the nature of the work that is being carried out and the type of household that it is being carried out in. Your COVID-19 risk assessment (refer to Section 1: Managing Risk) will help you decide what actions you need to take.
The following examples were provided in Step 3 of Subsection 1.1:
- Limiting the level of face-to-face interaction.
- Using physical barriers.
- Increasing hygiene, environmental cleanliness and providing reminders about the importance of hygiene.
- Washing hands well for 20 seconds with soap, and drying thoroughly, or using alcohol-based hand gels before and after close contact.
- Minimising loud noises which will require people to shout over them.
- Wearing personal protective equipment where sector specific guidance says it is necessary.
- Requiring face coverings to be worn in indoor premises, or parts of premises, that are open to the public or where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Providing information to staff and visitors to the premises about the need to wear face coverings and explaining where in the premises they are required.
- Recording contact details to support Test, Trace, Protect (TTP).
- Making staff aware of the employer’s compliance with the TTP strategy and the need for employers to release their personal contact information in the event of a TTP enquiry that involves the business/organisation and its employees.
- Ensuring that employees are allowed or enabled to self-isolate. If they have tested positive for COVID-19 or been notified they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The following steps could also be taken, where possible:
- Using a fixed pairing system, therefore limiting the number of people coming into contact with each other and households.
- Allocating the same workers to a household where work will be carried out over more than one visit or is repetitive (for example the same cleaner would undertake a weekly clean at the same household) therefore reducing the number of households that workers have to attend.
- If workers are doing jobs in an empty home, remember they may not be the only people who are working there. Empty homes should be cleaned after each visit from a separate worker or group of workers, or there should be a 72-hour window between visits, to eliminate the possibility of virus transmission. Rather than cleaning the entire property, cleaning should focus on touch-points and areas within the premises that workers have been in contact with. For example, for someone installing a meter, this might include cleaning the immediate area they are working in with sanitising wipes and regular cleaning products, before starting and after completion of the installation. In this example, in empty premises, installers would also be expected to clean all touch- points (such as door handles, and so on) when entering and leaving that premises.
- Extra attention must also be paid to equipment, and cleaning, and hand washing and respiratory hygiene, in order to reduce risk.
3.5 Physical distancing for delivery drivers and riders
Key point: Although most delivery drivers will not be entering people’s homes, they will still need to consider physical distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene precautions when delivering items.
As per the advice in Section 1, all employers must assess risks, and reduce them as far as is reasonably practicable. This applies equally to risks associated with delivery and collection. A thorough risk assessment will ensure you comply with the law, but if in doubt always seek legal advice. The HSE has more information: Delivering safely
Drivers should minimise contact during deliveries to, or collections from people’s homes. Where it is possible and safe, a single worker should load and unload the vehicle. If more than one person is needed for this work, where possible, the same workers, through a pairing system for example, should undertake this work.
Drivers must be careful to thoroughly wash their hands and dry them, or sanitise using alcohol based sanitiser, before and after delivery and or collection. If they do not do this, there is the possibility of cross contamination between the pick-up location and the customer.
If delivery drivers or riders are handling food, there are extra health and safety considerations. They should have basic inductions on safe food handling and hand hygiene. As with all staff, any symptoms of illness or poor health should be reported immediately.
It is important to maintain rules of physical distancing when delivering items. Delivery drivers should place items at a customer’s door and then contact them, either by calling them or knocking or ringing the doorbell. The driver should step back at least 2m from the front door, to allow sufficient space between them and the householder.
Good hand washing and respiratory hygiene rules should be followed, as set out in Subsection 2.2. A good rule of thumb is to wash hands or sanitise between ALL tasks. As washing facilities may not be available, drivers should have access to alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Another option is for drivers to make sure they carry soap and a sufficient supply of water with them, so they can wash their hands while on the road. If they also carry a towel with them, it should be washed at the end of the day (see Subsection 2.2).
There is more information available from the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (Food delivery and takeaway guidance) and from the Food Standards Agency (Adapting restaurants and food businesses for takeaway and food delivery during COVID-19).
3.6 What to do in case of an emergency
Key point: Physical distancing may not be appropriate in an emergency, if it would be unsafe for people to stay 2m apart.
In an emergency (an accident or a fire), it would not be reasonable for people to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe. If anyone is involved in giving assistance to others, they should make sure they comply with the usual sanitation advice immediately afterwards (fully washing hands, safely disposing of any gloves or other PPE).
St John's Ambulance have updated their guidance on emergency assistance during the pandemic. They recommend that first aiders do not perform rescue breaths on anyone requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
For more information, make sure you have checked the St John's Ambulance emergency advice.
4. Workforce planning
Key Point: You may need to change the way you work, by, for example, creating distinct groups of workers, to reduce the number of contacts that each worker or a household might have.
Reducing the number of contacts that your workers have, and therefore that households may have, can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The following steps could be taken:
- Where multiple workers are in a home, creating fixed teams of workers who carry out their duties in those teams, and minimising contact between each team.
- Identifying areas where people need to hand things to each other (such as shared tools and domestic appliances) and finding ways to remove direct contact, for example, by using drop-off points or transfer zones.
- Allocating the same worker to the same household each time there is a visit, for example, the same cleaner each time.
Key point: Employers have a responsibility to help the Test, Trace, Protect programme
Guidance has been published that explains how employers in Wales can play their part in helping to deliver Wales’ Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) strategy to slow the spread of the virus, protect our health and care systems and save lives. This covers their responsibilities to employees and contractors associated with the operation of their business and includes relevant information for the self-employed. The following steps will usually be needed:
- Recording and retaining contact details to support TTP and undertake any necessary TTP actions required by employers.
- As part of your risk assessment, ensuring you have an up to date plan in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak within your workforce. This plan should nominate a single point of contact (SPOC) where possible who should lead on contacting local Public Health teams.
- If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with your workforce within a 10-day period, you will be contacted by TTP.
- If the PHW health protection team declares an outbreak, you will be asked to provide your TTP records and details of symptomatic staff. You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process, which will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff, and reinforce prevention messages.
NHS COVID-19 app users are able to scan (check-in) when they enter a venue. Premises in Wales which are required to collect details of staff, customers and visitors must continue to do so, including people who check in through the app. However, if you have a premises from where you operate your business, for example an office that is open to others to attend, you may wish to consider creating a QR code for use with the app and display on your premises as an additional measure assist individuals with tracing potential contacts. You can create a QR code and display posters here.
5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high- visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks.
Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.
At the start of this document we described the steps you need to take to manage COVID-19 risk in the workplace. This includes working from home if that is possible, or taking all reasonable measures to maintain 2m physical distancing on your work place premises. When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not recommended. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through physical distancing, good hand and respiratory hygiene routines and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.
The exception is clinical settings, like a hospital, or a small handful of other roles for which Public Health Wales advises use of PPE, for example, first responders and immigration enforcement officers. If you are in one of these groups you should refer to the advice here.
Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission to your workforce is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection to staff is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly and be put on and taken off in a particular way to avoid potential contamination of the face or hands.
More information on PPE in Wales: Coronavirus and personal protective equipment (PPE).
6. Face Coverings
Wearing a face covering is mandatory for everyone in Wales in the indoor areas of premises that are open to public, and on public transport. This requirement only applies to areas that are accessible to members of the public such as reception areas and waiting rooms though may also include communal areas of buildings shared with other businesses, such as landings, staircases etc.
For any other premises, including the non-public areas of premises that are open to the public, the Welsh Government considers that, if physical distancing cannot be continuously maintained, those responsible for work carried out at those premises should, as a reasonable measure under the Coronavirus Regulations, require staff and visitors to wear a face covering so as to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 at the premises. This means that a decision not to require staff or visitors to wear a face covering in premises not open to the public, including the non-including the non-public areas of premises that are open to the public, should be based on a COVID-19 risk assessment that provides evidence that there is a compelling reason not to. The guidance of rmembers of the public can be seen here.
A face covering can be very simple; it just needs to cover the mouth and nose. It is not the same face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of higher specification PPE. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context. Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.
The duty to wear a face covering under the Coronavirus Regulations is incumbent on the public who visit, and the staff who work in, indoor public premises. It is important to remember that face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and do not negate the need for those responsible for premises open to the public, or premises where work takes place, to take other reasonable measures. Therefore, you must continue to do everything reasonably possible to keep everyone 2m apart and implementing other precautions, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, ensuring good respiratory hygiene, regular and thorough hand hygiene and increasing surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and the Welsh Government would therefore not expect to see employers relying solely on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.
Effective face coverings should have a water repellent outer layer if possible, and comprise of 3-layers of different fabrics, which are non-stretchy. They should fit well with no air gaps around the sides and under the chin. You can make face coverings at home and this guidance explains how.
Employers should support their workers in using face coverings. This means reminding them of the following information:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, (or use hand sanitiser) and dry thoroughly before putting a face covering on, and after removing it.
- When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or the face covering as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
- To not hang a face covering from the neck or pull down from the nose
- Change your face covering if it becomes damp or damaged.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Change and wash or discard (as applicable) your face covering daily.
- If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions.
- After wearing a reusable face covering, it should be placed inside a plastic bag prior to it being washed to prevent onwards contamination from the used face covering.
- If it is not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste and help keep Wales tidy.
- Practicing social distancing is the most effective way of reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
You are required by the Coronavirus Regulations to provide information to those entering or working at premises about how to minimise exposure to COVID-19. It is therefore essential that there is clear, precise and constant communication between employers, employees, the self-employed, trade unions (if one exists), and households, and anyone else on the premises, about the reasonable and proportionate actions being taken. It is important that everyone has the same message and same instruction. Employers and business operators should ensure that communications are accessible for all. The aim is to give clear communications and assurance of the management of COVID-19 risks and to minimise exposure to the virus.