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Accommodating Workers from Multiple Households

The ASSC has received the following guidance from the Scottish Government regarding accommodating workers from multiple households. This is very welcome news.

“We’ve carefully considered the requirements of certain sectors of the economy such as forestry, construction and digital connectivity which are reliant on shared self-catering accommodation for work purposes.  While the recommended position is for individual, self-contained accommodation for each employee, given the risks of transmission within shared accommodation, it is recognised that this is not always feasible.  Therefore, the exemption whereby workers share accommodation should only be applied where the following conditions apply:

  • Circumstances necessitate individuals to stay in shared self-catering accommodation for work purposes is defined as work which requires a physical presence in a location away from home (where the distance is such that it is not feasible to commute) and the work itself cannot be done on a virtual basis and should only be for the length of time required for work to take place and separate accommodation is unavailable or impractical.
  • Where assurance has been provided that accommodation providers and workers will comply with physical distancing and public health guidance to mitigate risk (set out below).

Special consideration should also be given to situations where a worker may be vulnerable and / or unwilling to share accommodation due to risk of Covid-19 transmission and efforts made to find suitable alternative accommodation which meets their needs.

When separate accommodation units cannot be provided and where workers are willing to share, the following guidance and mitigations should be followed:

  • Households should be limited in size to ensure that workers can access kitchens, cleaning and washing facilities and other shared spaces while maintaining physical distancing guidelines.
  • Employers and accommodation providers should conduct individual risk assessments, to ensure that there is sufficient capacity within a shared accommodation unit to ensure that users have separate bedrooms and the ability to occupy shared areas such as kitchens and toilets on their own and then clean them afterwards.  Individual risk assessment should ensure that these are of such a number that each user will have the time to occupy and use these spaces on their own and then clean them afterwards, given that at high demand times such as mornings, evenings and mealtimes such facilities will be in particular demand.
  • Workers sharing self-catering accommodation should have their own bedrooms and should adhere to physical distancing.
  • Shared bathrooms and kitchens present one of the biggest risks for increased spread of the virus.  Workers should be given the appropriate resources and instruction on how to keep shared areas clean and ventilated.
  • Residents should also be advised to use shared rooms one at a time with cleaning and ventilation in between (e.g. preparing and eating a meal).
  • Where communal toilets are available outside of households and could be used more widely, providers should implement measures to decrease this risk as far as possible in line with guidance on the reopening or public and customer toilets
  • This should include increased cleaning and may include reducing access to a one in, one out basis.  Cleaning materials should be provided for users to ‘clean as they go’.

The wording may be slightly refined within the guidance that will be published later today and we will update as required.

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