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COVID-19 workplace risk assessments

Information on carrying out workplace risk assessments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

A risk assessment is a systematic method of looking at how work activities could increase the risk of your employees being exposed to or spreading COVID-19 while at work and deciding on suitable control measures.

These control measures should incorporate the Scottish Governments precautionary measures and good practice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and seek to eliminate, reduce or control the risks of transmission to employees and others.

You should involve employees in the risk assessment process and consult them to reach joint solutions for managing COVID-19 risks in the workplace.

To assess these risks you need to follow the same steps on the links below.

  1. Identifying hazards and evaluating risks
  2. Deciding on precautions
  3. Recording findings and implementing them
  4. Reviewing assessments and updating if necessary

1. Identifying hazards and evaluating risks

Identify hazards and who might be harmed

You need to have a good understanding of how the virus transmits to be able to identify areas of concern within your organisation.

Evidence suggests that transmission of COVID-19 occurs mainly through close contact with an infectious individual.  There are two routes by which this can occur:

  • Directly: from close contact with an infected person where respiratory secretions can enter the eyes, mouth, nose or airways. This risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.
  • Indirectly: by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching own mouth, nose or eyes.

Close contact with others (particularly indoors) represents a higher risk of transmission, therefore, it’s important to provide good ventilation and consider keeping a reasonable safe distance from others, meeting outside where possible.

If you need to read general information about the virus go to NHS inform

Evaluating the risks

When considering the risks from the virus, you should assess:

  • the likelihood of it occurring
  • how severe its consequences might be.

This will allow you to prioritise your actions and ensure your resources are being used where they are most needed. 

You should implement the Scottish Government precautionary measures:

  • Encourage the use of face coverings, unless exempt
  • Support staff to self-isolate if they have symptoms
  • Support staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine  
  • Promote good hygiene, surface cleaning and provide good ventilation
  • Support home working or a hybrid model when possible
  • Continue compliance with test and protect

Consider implementing principles of good practice:

  • Provide information to staff and visitors about the measures that they should follow to keep themselves and other safe
  • Maximise the use of outside space
  • Plan for allowing for keeping safe distance when possible
  • Implement extra precautions for crowded places or large groups
  • Have a plan for managing infections in the workplace