Working safely - update

A legal duty to collect test and trace data, removal of the ‘five steps to working safely’ guidance, and new advice on running testing programmes are among the updates to government guidance for business affected by COVID-19.

From 18 September, businesses and other public settings where people meet socially including hospitality, close contact and leisure venues will have to record contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises. The details will have to be stored for 21 days and shared with NHS Test and Trace, if requested. Pre-18 September this was advisory; from 18 September it will be mandatory. There will be fixed penalties for organisations that do not comply.

The working safely during coronavirus guidance has been updated to remove the '5 steps to working safely' section, originally published in May 2020. The guidance covers 14 different types of work - close contact services; construction and other outdoor work; factories, plants and warehouses, heritage locations; hotels and other guest accommodation; labs and research facilities; offices and contact centres; other people’s homes; restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services; shops and branches; vehicles; performing arts; providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities; and the visitor economy. Each guidance document now starts with a list of ‘priority actions’ and further key points to be aware of. Priority actions cover such things as risk assessments, cleaning, face coverings, social distancing, ventilation, Test and Trace records, and turning away anyone with symptoms of COVID-19.

The Department for Health and Social Care has published guidance for employers on running testing programmes, outside of the NHS Test and Trace service. This guidance covers legislation, regulations and best practice; virus and antibody testing; how to interpret test results; and the next steps after a positive or negative test.