Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer commuting guidance for workplaces

(Last Updated 21/7/2021)

England

The UK Government is no longer instructing people living in England to work from home and “expects and recommends a gradual return to work over the summer”.

Government car-sharing guidance for England recommends colleagues have fixed travel partners and ensure the vehicle is well ventilated through the use of ventilation system or opening windows. Shared vehicles should be cleaned between shifts
or before each handover.

You can see the full guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/offices-factories-and-labs#offices-8-2

 

Northern Ireland

The Northern Irish Executive continues to recommend working from home where possible. Where people from different households need to use a vehicle at the same time, good ventilation (keeping the car windows open) and facing away from each other is advised to reduce the risk of transmission.

You can see the full guidance here: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/safer-travel-guidance-public-transport-users-walkers-cyclists-drivers#toc-5

 

Wales

The Welsh Government car sharing advice remains unchanged, with car sharing not recommended if social distancing cannot be maintained. Where necessary however, vehicle users should regularly clean regularly touched surfaces such as door handles and the steering wheel. Masks should be worn and journey durations kept as short as possible.

You can see the full guidance here: https://gov.wales/travelling-safely-during-coronavirus-pandemic-guidance-public-html

 

Scotland

The Scottish Government continues to advise working from home ‘wherever possible’. Following a review of the epidemic, the First Minister announced the decision to postpone the return to offices until Scotland moves beyond ‘Level 0’. If
sharing a vehicle with anyone from another household, the number of people should be limited to 2 where possible, the vehicle fully ventilated and the occupants wearing masks.

You can see the full guidance here: https://www.transport.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-on-how-to-travel-safely/#section-63888

 

We understand how important it is to support employers, employees and the self-employed to commute safely as restrictions lift following the COVID-19 pandemic. This document is intended to help inform those already back at work, or planning
to return to the workplace to reduce the risk of transmission when car-sharing, which remains one of the cheapest, most convenient and environmentally friendly ways to reduce your commuter emissions.

Liftshare advocate for safe and responsible car sharing, inviting users to ensure their vehicle is well ventilated and regularly cleaned, particularly areas such as the steering wheel and door handles. Regular handwashing and sanitising is
advised and we support car sharers wearing masks where appropriate or comfortable.

 

1. Risk Assessment

All employers need to carry out a COVID-19 Risk Assessment.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland Risk Assessment Guidance.

Scottish Risk Assessment Guidance

As part of your risk assessment for travel to and from work you need to:

Assess the risks for employee

  • You need to think about the risks your employees face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.
  • Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

 

2. Reduce Risks

Seek to reduce risks to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures.

Each part of the UK has different recommendations and guidance in regard to travel and working from home. It’s important to adhere to the rules of your area. You can view the full list of rules and recommendations for your region on the
relevant links above.

Organisations where some or all of their workers need to travel to work should consider:

Making a COVID-19 workforce travel plan

For Scotland see: https://www.transport.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/transport-transition-plan/advice-on-how-to-travel-safely/#section-63888

  • Analyse all the safer travel modes available to each worker
  • Determine if there are any workers that cannot meet the social distancing guidelines by walking, running, cycling or driving to work.
  • Government guidance is to avoid all travel by public transport if possible. Employers could help their workers to consider all other forms of transport before commuting using public transport. Employees should be very strongly
    encouraged to use other forms of transport where possible.

    • Services like myPTP enable employers to send personal travel plans of all their options in order of maximum social distancing to help workers make an
      informed decision.
  • Employers should consider setting up a car share scheme to help their workers who need to get a lift with a colleague.
    • Setting up a Liftshare Scheme for staff will help staff match with colleagues and set up a team to they can share the journey with the same people every day.
    • Liftshare’s App and monitoring pages enables employers to keep track of who is sharing each day
  • If workers have no alternative to public transport, it is vital they understand the steps they can take to maintain their own safety and that of others and help reduce demand on the transport networks.
  • Staggering arrival and departure times at work where possible to reduce crowding on routes to and from the workplace.
  • Reducing queues, for example by having more entry points to the workplace.
  • Limiting passengers in business vehicles (for example, work minibuses), leaving seats empty.
  • Assigning fixed groups of workers to the same transportation routes where sole travel is not possible.
  • Providing additional safe facilities for runners/walkers/cyclists.

3. Communications and Training

Organisations should share the government’s most recent guidance to all workers and organise training sessions on how to work or interact safely with colleagues. Businesses should carefully consider the best ways to share advice on how to
travel safely and social distancing guidelines to workers.

For workers, organisations could consider:

  • Let workers know in advance if they are required to travel or not, ensuring where possible workers continue to work at home.
  • Providing workers with the information, tools and support they need to travel as safely as possible.
    • This can be done by e.g. sending every member of staff a personal travel plan via myPTP.
    • Workers could be given guidance on face covering.
    • Workers could be given guidance on keeping vehicles clean.
  • Clear and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of how ways of working are applied.
  • Communication and training materials on new procedures. Some of these may need to be delivered online to maintain social distancing between workers.
  • Using posters and announcements to remind workers to wash their hands often and follow general hygiene advice.
  • Awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty.
  • The use of visual and digital communications (for example whiteboards, signs, websites, intranets, emails) to explain changes to schedules, breakdowns, materials shortages without the need for face-to-face communications.

 

If sharing with another household, limit the number of people to as few as possible and try to share with the same person each time.

Optimise distance between people in the vehicle, for example by the passenger sitting in back left-hand seat of a car.

Occupants in the car, including the driver, should wear a face covering provided it does not compromise driver safety in any way.

Clean door handles and other areas that people may touch between journeys using gloves and standard cleaning products.

Perform hand hygiene. Avoid physical contact, face away from each other and have good ventilation (keep the car windows open).

Use your organisation’s online Liftshare scheme (if you have one) to help you find a colleague to share with and to help keep track of who is sharing each day

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