This section of our website contains up-to-date authoritative guidance on dealing with coronavirus in a work setting. It is being updated regularly.
Government Publication – April 2020
The Council for Work and Health were were pleased to be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of this new guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control
Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA)
Guidance from ARMA: http://arma.uk.net/covid-19-coronavirus-info/
Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics (ACPOHE)
ACPOHE have developed a guidance document aimed at home workers. This advice sheet has been developed by ACPOHE to help its members to provide support to employees and employers following mandatory home working due to the COVID-19 crisis. This resource can be accessed freely through the following link: https://acpohe.csp.org.uk/documents/acpohe-advice-document-home-working-during-covid-19
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
Guidance from BACP: https://www.bacp.co.uk/news/news-from-bacp/coronavirus/
Press release from BOHS: 06 BOHS on RPE for NHS staff
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)
Guidance from CSP: https://www.csp.org.uk/news/coronavirus
Guidance from Cordell Health:
Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM)
Guidance from FOM: https://www.fom.ac.uk/general-news/covid-19-fom-information-sheet-27-03-2020
Guidance from the Government: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Guidance from HSE: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm
HSE Coronavirus (COVID-19) Stakeholder eBulletin 22 May 2020:
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
Further resources: https://www.iosh.com/coronavirus
Guidance from the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Guidance from NHS Employers: The COVID-19 guidance for the NHS workforce is now available, to help you provide protection and support for your staff.
Extra support for occupational health departments:
Newsletter 5 May 2020: https://mailchi.mp/343798b2b102/covid-19-network-conversation-210683?e=140e69d60a
NHS England and NHS Improvement
Please find the link attached to the recently published Clinical guide to adult critical care during the coronavirus pandemic: staffing framework.https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0087-specialty-guide-critical-care-standard-operating-procedure-and-coronavirus-v1-28-march.pdf
This forms part of a suite of guides on the NHS England website https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/secondary-care/other-resources/specialty-guides/ aimed at specialists working in hospitals in England during the pandemic. They are not prescriptive and can be adapted to local service provision and geography. They should help departments continue essential care for patients within their speciality whilst supporting the wider hospital and community in providing care for patients with coronavirus.
Public Health England (PHE)
Guidance from PHE: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT)
Guidance from the RCOT: https://www.rcot.co.uk/node/3396
Royal College of Physicians (RCP)
Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM)
SOM members are welcome to join a weekly Wednesday morning COVID-19 SOM teleconference at 9.30am to take queries and add to the advice sheet. Please call 020 3514 1993 – then enter SOM Conference phone number 1 647 953 4692#. SOM Council will be meeting every Friday morning to review any issues.
Two SOM member email discussion groups for COVID-19 questions & discussions have been set up:
See attached a presentation about Occupational Health and Safety issues for Healthcare Workers from the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy — presented by Dr. Claudio Colosio. The link to the recording of his presentation ishere. Dr. Colosio is an occupational physician and is head of the Occupational Health Service of the University Hospital in Milano, Italy. The presentation slides show that regular surgical masks are adequate PPE for healthcare workers. Also, in the presentation slides, Dr. Colosio reports the guidelines they have developed for the “Surveillance Protocol for Healthcare Professionals” that include the COVID-19 Screening, Fitness for Duty, Stay at Work and Return to Work protocols they have successfully implemented.
- 90% positive cases are asymptomatic
- General symptoms: Dry cough, dyspnea, sore throat, fever, diarrhea: (BUT also: anosmia, dysgeusia, conjunctival hyperemia)
- Our workers positive to COVID-19 did not need intensive therapy (working age patients have not had fatal outcome)
- To avoid virus spreading is important to identify contacts immediately
- FFP 2 e FFP3–only for operator protection during maneuvers that create aerosols (e.g. bronchoscopy)
- Surgical Mask stops inlet and outlet droplets
A WHO report on their visit to China is here. Finally, in response to our message for volunteers to help the NHS occupational health community, thanks to all of you who have volunteered. The details are now available on a secure page and a message has gone out to them to inform them of this. We are encouraging NHS OH departments to make direct contact in the event that they need additional support and to discuss their needs.
Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM)
Additional advice from SOM
We wanted to share the recording and slides from a WHO webinar on #Occupational #Health Measures in the Preparedness and Response to #COVID-19 at the Workplace – in case you were unable to join. A copy of the slides are available here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b92888aee175944bdd937ed/t/5e794eafc8364b0c891d8aa0/1585008309340/IOMSC+COVID19+Webinar+Slides.pdf
A recording of the full webinar is available here: https://vimeo.com/399995625
Returning to work toolkits for employers and occupational health professionals
Managing the safe return to the workplace of millions of UK workers needs careful planning.
Our toolkits, produced in partnership with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Business in the Community (BITC), and Mind, the mental health charity, will help businesses plan to reopen shuttered workplaces.
There are two toolkits: one for employers and one for occupational health professionals, who are supporting businesses make the workplaces covid-secure. You can download them for free.
Planning workers’ return
Here are five things any business needs to do before employees come back
- Contact workers about coming back to the workplace as far in advance of their expected return as you can
- Be prepared to have more than one conversation with your employee and use every contact to reassure them about the care you’re taking to open up the workplace
- Together with your employee, identify anything that might be an obstacle to their return. Obstacles can be personal, such as difficulty with childcare, practical, such as how they travel to the workplace, and even anxiety about catching covid-19.
- Agree with each member of staff a return to work plan which lists who will do what and when.
- If the obstacles identified are more than managers and HR departments can resolve, call in occupational health (OH) professionals. OH professionals support the well-being of workers, preventing ill-health, providing independent advice to organisations, facilitating steps to reduce sickness absence, and controlling infection risks.
Not sure how to start conversations with your furloughed staff? Here are some conversation starters you can use.
- “How has life been?”
- “Are you OK about coming back?”
- “Do you feel safe coming back?”
- “How we can make your job better?”
- “Do you know who to talk with if any problems crop up?”
If someone has existing common health problems, questions could include
- “Do you feel up to doing your usual job?”
- “What parts of your job do you think you will find difficult and what can we change to help overcome the difficulties?”
Getting the UK back to work
Work is good for us and the country needs to get back to good, safe jobs, in which people are safe and feel supported. Our Returning to the workplace toolkits can help all kinds of business achieve this. Download them for free.
Vocational Rehabilitation Association (VRA)
Resources from the VRA for practitioners and employers: https://vrassociationuk.com/coronavirus-useful-information-for-practitioners-employers/
World Health Organisation (WHO)
Guidance from WHO: World Health Organisation