Guidance on travelling for work during the COVID-19 pandemic
This guide provides practical advice on minimising the risks associated with travelling for work purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the official government guidance regarding office workers is that they should work from home if they can over the winter, there are still many workers who will need to carry on travelling for work.
Employers who are considering asking employees to travel for their work should undertake a risk assessment of the activities they expect their employees to undertake before they are recommended. Employers should answer two simple questions:
- Is it reasonably necessary for this task to be undertaken?
- Is it possible to carry out the task in another way e.g. via a remote meeting rather than face-to-face?
Employers should also provide suitable controls for employees who are ‘clinically vulnerable’ or are ‘shielding’ to avoid any increased risk of them contracting COVID-19. The current advice regarding employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable is that they should still be shielding and should not yet return to work. For more information and guidance on shielding see the latest government advice.
Considerations before travelling/driving for work
Many employees may not have driven too much or for long periods of time during the past few months. Also, there have recently been some changes to the road network – including new road layouts to create cycle lanes, wider pavements and road closures. These create additional concerns that employers should consider, such as:
- Do employees require any ‘refresher’ training before travelling for work purposes?
- Has the normal maintenance requirements of the vehicle been met while it has been off the road?
- Does the vehicle require any additional maintenance checks after being off the road for an extended period?
- Are there changes to the local road layouts that will affect the pre-lockdown routes and routines of the drivers? If so, how are the drivers being made aware of these?
- For employees driving long distances, will rest areas/service stations be open as normal? Do drivers need to take their own food and drink with them?
- Have you provided suitable guidance regarding sanitising the vehicle before and after use?
- Are there any changes to breakdown/vehicle recovery arrangements? If so, how are the drivers being made aware of these?
Taking public transport for work
For employees taking public transport for work i.e. buses, coaches, trains etc… social distancing rules require a two-metre distance where possible and a one-metre distance if two-metres isn’t possible – providing other suitable precautions are in place e.g. wearing face coverings.
In England it is the law that you must wear a face-covering when travelling on a:
- Ferry, hovercraft or other vessels
- Cable car
Face coverings should also be worn in other enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, such as stations, airports, interchanges, terminals etc.
Please see the below links for the requirements in each part of the UK:
Below we have listed some simple precautions employees can take when travelling on public transport:
- Maintain social distancing when possible, including at busy entrances and exits, beneath canopies, at bus stops or on platforms
- Try to avoid peak travel times to limit the number of people you come into contact with
- Wash or sanitise your hands regularly and try to avoid touching your face while travelling
- Travel side-by-side or behind other travellers, rather than facing them if possible
- Try to limit the amount of surfaces you touch
- Stay outdoors rather than indoors wherever possible e.g. stay on an outside platform while waiting for a train rather than in the waiting room
- Dispose of your waste safely, including items such as your disposable face coverings
- If you cannot safely maintain social distancing when boarding a train or bus, consider waiting for the next one
- Where possible, avoid consuming food or drink while on public transport
- Be aware of ‘vulnerable’ people who may require a seat or extra space e.g. pregnant, older or disabled people
For further help and advice regarding risk management for your business, please contact us.
You can also download our free COVID-19 Risk Assessments here:
- Reopening businesses after COVID-19 – risk assessments for returning to work and reopening buildings