Throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across the Falkirk Council area.

Falkirk Council, along with most of mainland Scotland, is in Level 1 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Local Protection Levels.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 provide the legal requirements and will be updated when restrictions change.

Our Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers are continuing to make sure that local businesses are complying with legal requirements contained in the Regulations as well as guidance provided for their particular sector.

If you have an enquiry about your business please contact us at publichealth@falkirk.gov.uk so we can assist you meet these requirements.


    Top tips for dealing with COVID-19

    Employees and Risk Assessment

    Engage with your staff and review your COVID-19 risk assessments together so you can take all their points into consideration. Remember that the variant we are dealing with now is much more infectious than the one we experienced last year.

    • Make sure everyone is clear on their role and the procedures
    • Make sure that your controls are followed every day - "COVID-19 Marshalls" or supervisors could be appointed to help with this
    • Think about the need for work cohorts (bubbles)
    • Make sure everyone can get to work and return home safely by following the advice on travel. Car sharing should be avoided but if there is no other option provide car sharing advice to those employees to reduce risk.

    Ventilation

    Lack of ventilation increases the likelihood of transmission, even with physical distancing in place. You must ensure effective ventilation throughout all areas of your business. Identify poorly ventilated areas and maximise ventilation by:

    • Natural ventilation – open windows, doors (excluding fire doors) and air vents
    • Mechanical ventilation – use fans and ducts to bring in air from outside
    • A combination of both

    Physical Distancing

    You are required to keep a 2-metre physical distance between all persons (other than household contacts) to minimise COVID-19 transmission. Remember to identify pinch points and busy areas. Things to think about are:

    • Limit customer/staff numbers in any area at any one time
    • Manage queues inside and outdoors eg 2m interval floor/ground markings
    • Introduce safe routes ie one-way systems
    • Remind customers/staff of physical distancing ie tannoy announcement
    • Highlight pinch points and busy areas with signs to remind about physical distancing
    • Screens at service counters/work stations
    • Staggered start times, finish times and breaks

    Face coverings are required in certain areas to provide an additional control but do not replace physical distancing.

    Hand hygiene and Cleaning

    Provide enough alcohol-based hand gel stations throughout the business for employees and customers to maintain clean hands throughout the working day.

    Design a cleaning schedule and train staff on its implementation. Remember to include:

    • Work areas
    • Staff rooms
    • Canteens
    • Toilets
    • Equipment
    • Frequent touch points (door handles, trollies, baskets, handheld devices etc)

    Ensure these areas are cleaned and disinfected frequently during the working day.

    Remember immediate enhanced cleaning and disinfection if someone who has been in your business becomes symptomatic or tests positive.

    Reducing likelihood of infection being brought into your business

    • Make sure staff/customers are aware of the symptoms of COVID-19
    • You could question staff/customers to ensure they are not a positive case/symptomatic or a close contact of a case before entry
    • Support staff to work from home for roles that can be done remotely
    • Where working from home is not possible plan for the minimum number of people to operate safely and effectively
    • If a staff member becomes unwell advise them to immediately self-isolate and book a test
    • Support your employees to self-isolate when required - remember the COVID-19: Fair work statement

    You should note that many individuals display no symptoms (asymptomatic) and even if they do show symptoms they are infectious for 48 hours before symptoms appear. Asymptomatic testing facilities are provided locally. Asymptomatic testing is an additional control and must not be used as a substitution for the COVID-19 controls.


    Guidance and checklists for businesses to follow

    Scottish Government has produced guidance and checklists for a number of sectors (keep checking these as they are updated as Regulations and Guidance change):

    Additional information can be found on our health and safety at work and food safety pages.

    Guidance is also available for retail customers and tourism and hospitality customers.


    Positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) case within a business

    You must immediately arrange cleaning and disinfection of the areas used by the positive case. Guidance on appropriate environmental decontamination (cleaning and disinfection) can be found in Health Protection Scotland's: COVID-19 - guidance for non-healthcare settings. Ensure that appropriate PPE is provided for anyone carrying out the cleaning.

    The positive case will be contacted directly by NHS Test & Protect to complete contact tracing and it's important they give full information to allow any close contacts to be identified. Test & Protect may also contact the business for further information and possibly the workplace COVID-19 risk assessment.

    There may be a delay in the contact tracing so we would encourage the employer, or person in charge, to determine whether there are any workplace close contacts as soon as possible and advise them to isolate immediately. This involves those in close contact with a positive case in the 48 hours before their symptoms started (or if asymptomatic 48 hours before their test) until their last day at work. Don't just think about the work area; much of the transmission is from shared areas including canteens, staff and changing rooms, toilets and smoking shelters. Also check if the case car shares on the way to and from work or at lunchtimes. Prompt action may reduce further spread.

    Any close contacts of the positive case will have to self-isolate until a specified date, provided by Test & Protect. Test & Protect will also advise them to get tested. A negative test result does not mean that the close contact can return to work, they must complete their self-isolation as they may become infectious near the end of this period.

    If you have the following:

    • two or more linked cases (confirmed or suspected) of Coronavirus (COVID-19) reported in the business within 14 days - where cross transmission has been identified; or
    • an increase in staff absence rates due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    You may have an outbreak and you should contact NHS Forth Valley Test & Protect and Falkirk Council Environmental Health:

    NHS Forth Valley Test & Protect
    Falkirk Council Environmental Health

    An outbreak may result in Incident Management Team (IMT) meetings where everyone works together to bring the outbreak under control. Food Standards Scotland and Public Health Scotland have produced The investigation of COVID-19 outbreaks in food businesses document for food businesses and similar information has been produced by Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): investigation of outbreaks in manufacturing businesses - guidance for employers.


    Report a concern about a business

    If you have concerns about a business in Falkirk not complying with the requirements, please report your concerns to Environmental Health & Trading Standards.