Blog, news & updates

New guidance for managing the spread of respiratory infections in the workplace (including COVID-19)

An employee touching a door handle (showing bacteria)

As part of the UK government’s ‘Living with COVID-19’ plan, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have published new guidance for employers in England to help manage the risks of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

This new guidance, titled ‘Reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID, in the workplace’, replaces the existing ‘Working safely through COVID-19’ guidance.

Our friends at Citation asked their HR & Employment Law experts to summarise the key points of the guidance…

What is the aim of the guidance?

The aim of the guidance is to help employers understand how they can best prevent the spread of respiratory infections at work.

The guidance advises that whilst COVID-19 doesn’t need to be directly addressed in a risk assessment, organisations must still consider respiratory health as a whole.

It also highlights the importance of reducing the spread of respiratory infections if there are employees who are at higher risk of serious illness through COVID-19.

What is covered in the guidance?

The new guidance covers a range of areas, including:

Recognising symptoms - The guidance states that it is “important for staff and employers to be aware of symptoms so they can take actions to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to other people”.

What to do if a member of staff has symptoms of a respiratory infection - The guidance states that if a member of staff is unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, they must follow the government guidance ‘People with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19’.

Actions to reduce the spread of respiratory infections - The guidance sets out the following recommendations for managing the risk of transmission: encourage & enable vaccination, let fresh air in, and maintain a clean workplace.

Outbreaks in the workplace - The guidance states that there is no requirement to report respiratory infections to the local public health team. However, if you experience high volumes of people with respiratory symptoms in your workplace, you should focus on the actions above to help reduce transmission.

Management of members of staff who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 - The guidance states “Employers may wish to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19”.

Essential Training for Returning to Work

One of the easiest ways to bring employees up to speed with Health & Safety and other areas of compliance is through online training.

Here at iHASCO, we offer a Returning to Work Essentials Training bundle that help employees achieve a safe and smooth return to work by covering a range of topics including:

You can claim a free, no-obligation trial to any of these courses today! Alternatively, you can request a bespoke quote for your organisation and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your training needs.

Returning to Work Training Bundle