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Working Safely During COVID-19 2021

How to use this guidance

This document sets out guidance on how to work safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.

It gives practical considerations of how this can be applied in the workplace. Each production will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of their production, including the size and type of production, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.

Productions are also advised to explore any concerns raised by workers about attending the production, even in cases where protected characteristics do not appear to be relevant.

Productions can consider this guidance when formulating their own policies and procedures but are reminded that they must additionally ensure a risk assessment is completed by a competent person, in consultation with those involved, which communicates the measures necessary across the business to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19.

This risk assessment should be under regular review, particularly if there are changes in the work or processes, as well as when relevant guidance is updated. The policies, and procedures and arrangements for control measures, should then be clearly and effectively communicated to all cast and crew, and anyone else who may be present on set.

This document is not intended to cover all specific risks from COVID-19 that may be applicable to your project.

Who Should Work During COVID-19

  1. Set in place an appropriate way to identify any member of cast and crew who is at increased risk from contracting COVID-19 and discuss their participation with them in the context of their own approach to risk and the health advice from their own health professionals (with consent) and, if appropriate, any production medical advisor. UK Government definitions and guidance for those are clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable must always be followed.
  2. Remind the cast and crew that they must not come to work if they or a member of their household is displaying COVID-19 symptoms under existing UK Government guidance, this includes those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the UK Government’s test and trace program.
  3. Conduct daily COVID-19 symptom checks with cast and crew. Ask each crew member daily whether they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

Ensure anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms does not go to work until they have tested negative with an NHS approved test and/or have undergone a minimum period of self-isolation of at least 10 days from when their symptoms started, and have no continuing symptoms other than a mild continuing cough or anosmia (changed sense of taste/smell).

  • Anyone with a high temperature must continue to self-isolate even if:
  • They have had and recovered from coronavirus symptoms in this time
  • They get a negative test result for coronavirus. Anyone who is not experiencing symptoms but has tested positive for COVID-19 must self isolate for at least 10 days starting from the day the test was taken.

Anyone who has tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms, but develops symptoms during the isolation period, must restart the 10-day isolation period from the day they first develop symptoms.

NB: According to the UK Government, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • A high temperature (37.8C / 100.04F or higher)
  • A new, continuous cough
  • Anosmia (loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)

Social distancing for those attending live production


To maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, including while arriving at and departing from work, while in work and when travelling between sites.

You must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff. Mitigating actions include:

  • Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
    Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
    Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).
  • Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing

Coming to work and leaving the production site


To maintain social distancing wherever possible, on arrival and departure and to enable handwashing upon arrival.
Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Limiting passengers in corporate vehicles, for example, work minibuses. This could include leaving seats empty.
  • Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the workplace in larger stores.
  • Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points.
  • Providing handwashing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at entry and exit points.
  • Providing alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads.
  • Defining process alternatives for entry/exit points where appropriate, for example, deactivating pass readers at turnstiles in favour of showing a pass to security personnel at a distance.

Moving around buildings


To maintain social distancing as far as possible while people travel through the workplace. Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Introducing more one-way flow through buildings.
  • Providing floor markings and signage should remind both workers and customers to follow to social distancing wherever possible.
  • Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encouraging use of stairs wherever possible.
  • Making sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts. Regulating use of high traffic areas including corridors, lifts,turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing.

Workplaces and workstations (Post-Production included)


To maintain social distancing between individuals when they are at their workstations. For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible. Workstations should be assigned to an individual as much as possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.

If it is not possible to keep workstations 2m apart (or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable), then businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission. Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Reviewing layouts to allow workers to work further apart from each other. Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance (or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) Avoiding people working face-to-face. For example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other.
  • Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity. For example, maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned.
    Minimising contacts around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments.
  • Rethinking demonstrations and promotions to minimise direct contact and to maintain social distancing.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.

It also includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks. Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.

Previously in this document we described the steps you need to take to manage COVID-19 risk in the workplace.

Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. This is why social distancing, regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes is so important in controlling the spread of the virus.

People are required to wear a face covering by law in some public places unless they have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one or are not able to wear one, for example, because of their age or a health condition. People are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

Guidance on face coverings is available on GOV.UK.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others. Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.

It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home. If you have recent onset of any of the most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19): (xi) a new continuous cough a high temperature a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia) you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

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