Updated 26 October 2020

Useful guidance and advice for managers on staying safe during Coronavirus

COVID-19 or Coronavirus is becoming a top priority for employers around the world. This developing pandemic event is putting pressure on already stretched managers to do more to keep up to date and protect the health, safety and welfare of their teams and service users.

This page will keep you up to date with the current Government advice and available Aberdeen City Council guidance and tools.

COSLA and the joint Trade Unions are clear that our workforce must have access to practical guidance and necessary PPE to ensure they have the confidence to carry out their roles as part of this whole system approach to tackling COVID-19. The Scottish Government have assured that they will continue to work with COSLA and the Unions on future setting-specific guidance and that they will take all possible steps to ensure all appropriate supplies are made available to the workforce.  We hope that this will give confidence to those who are receiving vital services and who are already shielding that their safety is being prioritised.

Please view COSLA’s FAQs for further information

Wearing Face Coverings

Further guidance on face coverings can be found on the Scottish Government Website.

Employee FAQs - All Work Areas

The legislation now requires any employee (unless exempt) to wear a face covering when in the communal area of a workplace

It applies to all employees, agency workers and visitors to any ACC building (unless exempt).

In ACC this is being applied where someone is not seated at a desk or table or are not at their work space. “Communal area” means an area where persons mingle or gather, such as: passageways, stairs, lifts, staff rooms, training rooms, changing rooms, or entrances.

No, In ACC we require staff to wear face coverings in any communal space they work no matter the building. This requirement also applies for any workspace where staff are located.  If you are unsure if you are required to wear a face covering in some areas, please check with your manager.


If staff are working or travelling in a corridor of a housing complex or block then they will require to wear a face covering (please note, there is no mandatory requirement for residents to wear face coverings).

In workshops/depots etc if staff were working on a specific vehicle or piece of equipment, this would be their ‘workspace’ (although they may be expected to wear other PPE depending on the task), however, whilst moving between vehicles/equipment in a communal workshop, they should wear a face covering.

Yes if they are being invited into the communal areas of our buildings but not if the building is also their place of residence.

For the purpose of reducing the spread of coronavirus, a face covering is something which covers the nose and mouth. You could also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

You can remove these in areas where the wearing of face coverings is not required. For example, seated at your desk (or other workspace), a canteen table, non-communal staff toilets, outside breaks. 

Every time you apply or remove a covering, it is important that you wash or sanitise your hands first and avoid touching your face. When temporarily storing a face covering, such as in a pocket when moving between spaces, it should be placed in a washable bag or container and you should avoid placing it on surfaces, due to the possibility of contamination. After each use, you must wash the face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or in boiling water.

Face shields may be used, but only if they are worn in addition to a face covering underneath, as the evidence shows that they do not provide adequate protection.

If you are unable to wear a face covering, a face visor or face shield can be worn as it does provide a limited level of protection.

Employee FAQs - Customer Facing

Yes, unless you have an exemption. If you work in a customer facing role in an ACC building which is open to customers of more than 1 family at the same time. There is however no need to wear a covering if you are able to guarantee the 2 metre distance or you are behind a screen when serving the customer.

Yes unless they have an exemption.

Yes, unless you have an exemption.  Face coverings are now required to be worn when you are not seated at your desk, table or your workspace.

You can remove these in areas where the wearing of face coverings is not required. For example, seated at your desk (or other workspace), a canteen table, non-communal staff toilets, outside breaks. 

Some people find the wearing of masks to be uncomfortable after a period of time. This does not need to be for an extended period of time but there should be times where staff can remove their face covering for a very short period and can be during their normal breaks, e.g. toilet and coffee breaks.  

In some services where direct care is provided then face masks would be used.  Please follow the processes established for your role.

You will need to wear a face covering when in any communal space (e.g. hallway/stairwell) or whenever you cannot maintain 2m distance while in someone’s home.

Managers' FAQs

  • any premises which open to members of the public where there is access to members of the public from more than 1 home at any one time
  • indoor zoos or visitor farms, and any other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural site
  • community centres
  • crematoriums and funeral director’s premises
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • museums and galleries
  • storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop off points, e.g. a food bank

If the building fits into the description of relevant buildings above or if they have similar uses then you should:

  • Put up signage at access points to customers
  • Require customers and staff in the public areas to wear face coverings
  • Provide these face coverings for all staff who are affected, a minimum of 2 masks so they can wear one on alternate days
  • Consider providing coverings for those customers who may have forgotten

This isn’t required, but guidance does suggest that we have a supply available for those customers who may have forgotten theirs or were not aware that they are expected to wear a face covering.

Yes.  You should do this by placing signage at the entrances to a building. If visits are by appointment, you could also remind customers at this point they will be required to wear face coverings when in the building.

They will be required to wear face coverings where the 2-metre separation distance in front office settings either cannot be guaranteed or they are not sitting behind plexiglass screens. This is only where we have multiple customers in the same area, where they cannot maintain distance.

No, however there is a risk to these staff if they do not wear coverings. You should consider if they can do other non-customer facing roles instead or tasks where they would be guaranteed to be 2 metres from customers

Yes; in ACC buildings which are open and where access is given to members of the public from more than 1 family at any one time (e.g.in a public area) then customers will need to wear face coverings at all times whilst in the building. Even if they are sitting in front of a plexiglass screen this will be required. There are exceptions to the need to wear face coverings.

Some people are not required to wear a face covering. These include:

  • Babies, toddler and children under 5 years of age, due to the possibility of overheating, suffocation and strangulation and they are safe without one. 
  • police constables or emergency response workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty 
  • owners, managers, members of staff, or volunteers, of indoor premises where it is mandatory to wear a face covering who are physically separated, by means of, for example, partition screens, from passengers or customers or if they maintain a 2 metre distance from customers or members of the public
  • In a place of worship, or at a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership, by a person leading an act of worship, service, ceremony or registration where there is a partition screen or a distance of 2 metres is maintained

Customers may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:

  • they have a health condition or are disabled, including hidden disabilities, for example, autism, dementia or a learning disability, 
  • They are providing care for someone with a health condition or disability, and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety to the wearer or the person in the care of the wearer, or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently
  • Individual discretion should be applied in considering the use of face coverings for other children including, for example, children with breathing difficulties and disabled children who would struggle to wear a face covering
  • to seek medical assistance
  • to avoid injury, illness or escape the risk of harm
  • they are taking medication and require removing their face covering to do this
  • customer or staff are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading and facial expressions to communicate
  • a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks someone to remove your face covering

No – the responsibility to wear a face covering rests with the individual.  There should be a process in place where customers are politely reminded of the need to wear face covering in our buildings.

However, not wearing a face covering is a criminal offence with the potential for a fixed penalty notice to be issued if the law is broken. Our staff are not required to enforce this law, but we ask you to talk to customers who are not wearing a face covering and explain the law. If customers refuse to wear a face covering, staff are asked not to stop customers from entering the building or from being served but should try to maintain the 2-metre distance where possible. 

If they don’t have an exemption, then please hold a discussion with them to understand any concerns they have around face coverings.  Make attempts to rectify any concerns they might have and explain that these were in place to protect the health and safety of both themselves and others.   

Support and guidance on this can be sought from Employee Relations and Corporate Health and Safety.

Returning to Work

Reinstatement of Services

It is important that now we begin to prepare for the reinstatement of some services within ACC so that when lockdown is lifted we are in a position to reopen services in a way which is safe for both staff and the citizens of Aberdeen.  This is our number one priority.    

All reinstatement guidance and documents can be found at Reinstatement of Services

COVID Age Calculator - Individual Risk Assessments

Guidance has been issued by the Scottish Government on the COVID-19 risk assessment process for all staff. This requires a workplace and individual risk assessment to be completed for all staff. These recognise the combined risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace and an individual’s clinical vulnerability to the virus. 

The guidance is particularly relevant to the following groups:  

  • staff members who are returning to work after shielding 
  • staff who are returning to normal duties after COVID-19 related restrictions 
  • staff returning to the workplace after working from home 
  • anyone who has a concern about a particular vulnerability to COVID-19. 

Full guidance on how to complete these assessments can be found and the forms to complete can be found below.  If you have any queries please contact HSW@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Requesting Office Space or Equipment

Consider only if you have employees who are struggling with their physical or mental well-being while working from home and you feel this could only be improved by returning to the office

Useful Guidance

This section provides documents which have been developed within the Council interpreting the current guidance to provide managers with guidance which they may need during this outbreak. If you require further more specific guidance then you can contact the corporate health and safety team on hsw@aberdeencity.gov.uk for advice and guidance.

The links below provide risk assessment templates which provide generic areas of risk and control which managers can adapt, alter and remove areas within.  As we move towards reinstating services these have been superseded by the templates found in the  – Reinstatement of Services above.  If you require assistance or guidance please contact the corporate health and safety team on hsw@aberdeencity.gov.uk

RA Coronavirus face to face with non-symptomatic person

Risk assessment to be used by line managers when they have staff who will be working close to other staff or with service users who display no symptoms of coronavirus. This assessment will include those who will be required to work with members of the public who visit Council buildings.

RA Coronavirus service users with symptoms

A template risk assessment to be completed by managers who have staff who will be required to work with service users who are displaying symptoms of coronavirus. This assessment is to be used where the staff will most likely be providing care to the service user.

RA Coronavirus home working

During the outbreak a large number of staff have been required to work at home and this risk assessment is to be used where employees are working from home. The assessment describes a hierarchy of controls which should be considered during this time.

RA Coronavirus very high risk staff

Identify employees who fall into very high risk group as identified through their receipt of letters from NHS or Government. It states that all such employees should be required to work at home for the 12 weeks required by Government guidance.

RA Coronavirus high risk staff

To be completed where line managers have employees who fall into high risk group as identified by Government guidance. If you are unsure then these are listed in the risk assessment template.

RA Coronavirus – redeployed staff

To be used by managers where they have employees who have been redeployed into their teams during this outbreak

For Healthcare and Non-Healthcare Settings

When to use Personal Protective Equipment

  • When to use PPE Guidance – If you’re a member of staff with a PPE requirement, or a service manager with staff who have PPE requirements – you should ensure that you are familiar with the process, should the equipment not be available, using this simple decision tree

How to use Personal Protective Equipment

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