Guidance for certain sectors of the economy such as forestry, construction and telephone engineers, who rely on shared, self-catering accommodation for work.
While the recommended position is for individual, self-contained accommodation for each employee, this is not always feasible. Workers should share accommodation only:
- where it is not practicable for the workers to commute or to work from home
- where separate accommodation is unavailable or impractical
- where the workers are not showing any symptoms, have not been told to isolate or are awaiting test results
- where the employer has undertaken relevant risk assessments and put appropriate safety measures in place or is satisfied that those steps have been taken by the accommodation provider
- where the employer is satisfied that any workers housed in shared accommodation will comply with public health guidance, such as guidance on physical distancing, and
- where workers are willing to share accommodation
Guidance and mitigations
When separate accommodation cannot be provided and where workers are willing to share, the following guidance and mitigations should be followed:
- employers and accommodation providers should conduct risk assessments, share risk assessments with workers for information and agreement and undertake necessary actions to mitigate risks
- to ensure that there is sufficient capacity in a shared accommodation unit to – where practical – provide residents with separate bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms to reduce mixing
- to ensure that residents can access kitchens, washing areas and toilet facilities and other shared spaces whilst maintaining physical distancing and wearing a face covering
- to ensure that residents – where practical – have the ability to occupy and use shared areas within the accommodation unit, such as kitchens, washing areas and toilets, on their own, allowing for high demand times such as mornings, evenings and mealtimes, and allowing for the time taken for the facilities to be cleaned after each use
- to ensure that residents – where practical – have the ability to occupy and use communal facilities outside of accommodation units – such as kitchens, washing areas and toilets – on their own, allowing for high demand times such as mornings, evenings and mealtimes, and allowing for the time taken for the facilities to be cleaned after each use
All shared spaces should be kept clean – cleaning materials and clear instructions for use should be provided to residents to allow cleaning to be undertaken in between uses of shared areas:
- ensure regular detergent cleaning schedules and procedures are in place using a product which is active against bacteria and viruses
- ensure regular (at least twice daily) cleaning of commonly touched objects and surfaces wedge doors open, where appropriate, to reduce touchpoints. This does not apply to fire doors
- ensure any crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas is cleaned with warm general purpose detergent and dried thoroughly before being stored for re-use
- all shared spaces should be well ventilated, with clear instructions of how to ventilate shared spaces by residents
- where communal toilets are being used providers should implement increased measures to decrease the risk of contamination including enhanced cleaning, and consider reducing access to a one in, one out basis
- any residents that experience symptoms of Covid-19 or have tested positive for it should self-isolate for 10 days. That means residents not leaving the shared accommodation at all, even to exercise or to get food and medicine.
Close contacts will be contacted if a positive case is confirmed. Employers should not ask someone isolating to come into work before their period of isolation is complete, in any circumstances.
Please see updated guidance for sectors of the economy who rely on shared, self-catering accommodation for work, such as forestry, construction and telephone engineers, which was published on 1st April 2021.