Throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across the Falkirk Council area.

Falkirk Council, and the whole of Scotland, moved to Beyond Level 0 on 9 August 2021. Information can be found on the Scottish Government website.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 provide the legal requirements and will be updated when restrictions change.

Our Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers are continuing to make sure that local businesses are complying with legal requirements contained in the Regulations as well as guidance provided for their particular sector.

If you have an enquiry about your business please contact us at publichealth@falkirk.gov.uk so we can assist you meet these requirements.

  1. Table of contents

Top tips for dealing with COVID-19

Employees and Risk Assessment

Engage with your staff and review your COVID-19 risk assessments together so you can take all their points into consideration. Remember that the variant we are dealing with now is much more infectious than the one we experienced last year.

  • Make sure everyone is clear on their role and the procedures
  • Make sure that your controls are followed every day - "COVID-19 Marshalls" or supervisors could be appointed to help with this
  • Think about the need for work cohorts (bubbles)
  • Make sure everyone can get to work and return home safely by following the advice on travel. Car sharing should be avoided but if there is no other option provide car sharing advice to those employees to reduce risk.

Ventilation

Lack of ventilation increases the likelihood of transmission, even with physical distancing in place. You must ensure effective ventilation throughout all areas of your business. Identify poorly ventilated areas and maximise ventilation by:

  • Natural ventilation – open windows, doors (excluding fire doors) and air vents
  • Mechanical ventilation – use fans and ducts to bring in air from outside
  • A combination of both

The Health & Safety Executive's updated guidance includes a new video setting out the key advice. There are also some examples of how businesses have improved ventilation to reduce COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is no longer a legal requirement and there is no limit on how many people you can meet however, the advise is to avoid crowds and try to keep distance from those not in your social group where possible.

Face coverings

Face coverings remain a legal requirement and by law they must be worn in all public indoor settings, including transport unless an exemption applies.

Hand hygiene and Cleaning

Provide enough alcohol-based hand gel stations throughout the business for employees and customers to maintain clean hands throughout the working day.

Design a cleaning schedule and train staff on its implementation. Remember to include:

  • Work areas
  • Staff rooms
  • Canteens
  • Toilets
  • Equipment

Frequent touch points (door handles, trollies, baskets, handheld devices etc)

Ensure these areas are cleaned and disinfected frequently during the working day.

Remember immediate enhanced cleaning and disinfection if someone who has been in your business becomes symptomatic or tests positive.

Reducing likelihood of infection being brought into your business

Reducing likelihood of infection being brought into your business

  • Make sure staff/customers are aware of the symptoms of COVID-19
  • Support staff to work from home for roles that can be done remotely
  • If a staff member becomes unwell advise them to immediately self-isolate and book a test
  • Support your employees to self-isolate when required - remember the COVID-19: Fair work statement
  • Encourage staff to undertaken regular, for example twice weekly, no symptoms testing. Lateral Flow Device testing is widely available locally or can be ordered online.
  • Support staff to work from home for roles that can be done remotely (just moved this one down)

Positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) case within a business

You must immediately arrange cleaning and disinfection of the areas used by the positive case. Guidance on appropriate environmental decontamination (cleaning and disinfection) can be found in Health Protection Scotland's: COVID-19 - guidance for non-healthcare settings. Ensure that appropriate PPE is provided for anyone carrying out the cleaning.

The positive case will be contacted directly by NHS Test & Protect to complete contact tracing and it's important they give full information to allow any close contacts to be identified. Test & Protect may also contact the business for further information and possibly the workplace COVID-19 risk assessment.

There may be a delay in the contact tracing so we would encourage the employer, or person in charge, to determine whether there are any workplace close contactsas soon as possible and advise them to isolate immediately. This involves those in close contact with a positive case in the 48 hours before their symptoms started (or if asymptomatic 48 hours before their test) until their last day at work. Don't just think about the work area; much of the transmission is from shared areas including canteens, staff and changing rooms, toilets and smoking shelters. Also check if the case car shares on the way to and from work or at lunchtimes. Prompt action may reduce further spread.

Individuals who have been identified as close contacts and who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination under a UK Government programme (and 2 weeks to allow the vaccine to take effect) will no longer need to self-isolate if return a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. They will have to self-isolate at home while they book the test and wait for the results. However, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will still be required to self-isolate for ten days.

If you have the following:

  • two or more linked cases (confirmed or suspected) of Coronavirus (COVID-19) reported in the business within 14 days - where cross transmission has been identified; or
  • an increase in staff absence rates due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

You may have an outbreak and you should contact NHS Forth Valley Test & Protect and Falkirk Council Environmental Health:

NHS Forth Valley Test & Protect
Falkirk Council Environmental Health

An outbreak may result in Incident Management Team (IMT) meetings where everyone works together to bring the outbreak under control. Food Standards Scotland and Public Health Scotland have produced The investigation of COVID-19 outbreaks in food businesses document for food businesses and similar information has been produced by Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): investigation of outbreaks in manufacturing businesses - guidance for employers.