Using PPE at work during the coronavirus outbreak – advice from HSE

Health and safety law says that employers must protect workers from injury or harm to health which could happen as a result of work-related activity. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, HSE has worked with others to develop guidance about current issues with PPE (personal protective equipment).

HSE also has specific advice to help employers and workers.

PPE in non-healthcare businesses
For most people any potential infection from coronavirus will not be because of their work.

If you do not normally wear a face mask, or any other PPE for work, then you do not need to because of coronavirus.

There is currently no evidence that using face masks outside of a healthcare or clinical setting will protect people from coronavirus.

Face coverings do not need to be worn in the workplace but employers should support their workers if they choose to wear one. You can find more on face coverings in the GOV.UK guides on Working safely during coronavirus.

There is also core guidance available:

PPE hub – GOV.UK provides advice on infection prevention and control in health, social care and non-healthcare sectors
Guidance for non-clinical settings – GOV.UK guidance on what you need to do to protect yourself and other people
Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland – Scottish Government guidance
Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wales – Welsh Government guidance

Using any form of PPE is a last resort after you have assessed the risks – find out more in the HSE employer’s guidance on your legal duties for providing PPE at work.

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