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Adapting Your Workplace
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The Scottish Government's revised guidance sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.

This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the website.

See the latest Government guidance (updated 21 April 2020)

Food Standards Scotland: Guidance for Food Business Operators and their Employees

Food Standards Scotland has produced detailed guidance for food business operators and their employees on how to ensure enhanced saefty measures during the COVID-19 crisis. Yoou can download the full guidance from the link below. 

View the FSS Guidance (updated 9 April 2020)

Personal Protective Equipment

Increase use of PPE, where possible though we’d remind businesses that there is no further requirement for PPE for your staff, beyond what would normally be required. It is important we don’t add to the national demand for those products, the priority for which needs to be frontline NHS staff.

Health and Safety Executive releases an open letter to the food industry re PPE

The Health and Safety Executive in an open letter has outlined that some workers will have to wear less effective masks, because of shortages of availability due to the coronavirus outbreak. Manufacturers who use fine powder ingredients, including seasonings, flavourings, stabilisers, cocoa and flour, as well as powdered household products, issue staff with face masks as part of their standard health and safety policies.

For example, in bakeries, breathing in flour dust can be a significant risk as it can cause occupational asthma. The Health and Safety Executive also note that suitable control can often be achieved using good working practices and local exhaust ventilation (engineering controls) which then means that employees do not need to wear dust masks; reducing overall pressure on the supply chain.

Read the full letter

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

The First Minister has advised essential businesses to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace. To support food and drink manufactures in protecting their workforce from Covid19, Scotland Food & Drink, along with ourselves and other partners and member businesses, has pulled together best practice tips being used by members of the food and drink business community.

We understand that this advice may not be relevant for all businesses but we hope that sharing community practice provides support in some way. We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more and will share any official guidance as and when we receive it. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to us at 

Social distancing measures to help staff maintain a 2-metre distance from each other

  • Build extra space into the production processes themselves to maintain adequate distance between employees
  • Try to eliminate queues entering and leaving the building at start and stop times. Example: use the security entrance doors at key shift start and stop times (instead of a turnstile) – supervise to maintain distance or stagger shift start time and finish times
  • Keep workers on same production lines or working in the same areas of factory each day
  • For multi-site operations, restrict any cross-site visits to only business critical
  • Release employees at end of shift line by line to keep numbers down in change areas and at exits
  • Implement home working for as many office staff as possible
  • Use teleconference for meetings with people, even in the same building
  • Stagger break times to be more frequent and in smaller numbers to maintain social distancing in canteens
  • Increase physical space between employees at the worksite by rearranging workspaces if possible, spacing out chairs in cafeteria and meeting rooms
  • Encourage staff to bring in their own food
  • Increase the availability of additional locations for people eating food on site
  • Increase smoking shelter areas to keep more distance between employees
  • Stop all visitors at sites except those business critical


  • Implement a COVID-19 Response Team that have a daily call to discuss new guidelines and challenges the business is facing
  • Daily communication with all employees communicating any new guidelines, recommunication of key guidelines and any new processes/measures being implemented
  • Regular reminders to workers on how to take extra precautions and prevent the spread of the virus (stay at home if sick, handwashing etc.)

Review and revise cleaning schedules

  • Increase cleaning schedules at all sites. If possible, all public areas cleaned down every two hours
  • Space shifts out to fully clean workplace before new shift team arrives
  • Issue office employees with anti-bacterial wipes to clean down laptops, printers, mouse, keyboards, desks etc.
  • Sanitize workstations more often and extra disinfection of production lines
  • Place anti-bacterial wipes at all bio metric clocks for employees to use
  • Clean communal office phones thoroughly after every use
  • Increase hand-washing breaks

Car sharing

  • If you currently transport staff by private bus then ensure employees maintain a reasonable distance, wash hands before boarding and wash down bus after each use.
  • Avoid if possible, car share with as few people as possible
  • Do not car share with someone who is exhibiting symptoms, tell them to go home
  • If you are the driver, disinfect all door handles and areas inside the car that a passenger may touch before picking them up
  • Everyone should wash hands before getting in the car

Bigger decisions

  • Change product formats so less processing and less workers on the line
  • Downsizing operations to critical work only
  • Scale down numbers of workers on a shift. Reducing productivity is better than closing the factory
  • Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate, even if key employees are absent
  • Moving to a two-shift pattern could double the space available for staff but will obviously have impacts on efficiency

Download and print these tips

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here to download an example.