Where possible companies should observe the government's '2 meter' rule. However due to factory design or the nature of the work, it is acknowledged this will not always be possible. Companies have implemented processes to help ensure the safety of their workers such as limiting movement through the factory, restricting numbers in rooms and staggering shifts or extending factory hours to help minimise the number of people arriving and leaving at the same time.
The most detailed guidance for food and drink manufacturers remains that published by FSS or by NIFDA. PHE and the Welsh Government have also both published guidance; these contain limited practical detail but indicate the type of approach expected of business.
The DHSC PPE Plan provides details on how companies who can produce PPE can contribute under its 'make' strategy.
On public transport and in many indoor spaces, you must now wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt. See guidance on staying safe outside your home for more information on face coverings.
PHE have produced guidance on how to wear face coverings, this includes how to wash face coverings.
A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of PPE by healthcare and other workers; these continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.
Following sustained requests from FDF, DEFRA and the FSA have published additional guidance for food companies on the use of face coverings. The FAQ complements the government guidance on face coverings, and covers general questions on face coverings, the use of face coverings in food production/handling environments and in the retail environment. If face coverings are to be used in the manufacturing environment, the face coverings must be compatible with Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). If face coverings are not allowed in the manufacturing environment, there should be company procedures on how to safely store the employees face covering.
Face Masks – Normal Health and Safety
The Health and Safety Executive has provided guidance relating to temporary changes which will last for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis relating to the use of face masks and food dust particles. In effect, it allows for the use of FFP2 masks in place of FFP3, where companies are unable to obtain stocks, and following a risk assessment and implementation of dust minimising measures.