Staying Safe in the Workplace

On this page you will find advice to keep you safe in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Please refer to the information in the tabs below.  If you cannot find the guidance or advice you are looking for please contact HR using the contact us tab.

National Services Scotland

As you will no doubt be aware, there has been a considerable amount of activity ongoing across NSS to ensure that staff who need to return to an NSS building to fulfil a critical service are able to do so. We are now in a position to share more details on next steps – please read the information below and the details in the tabs below so that you are aware of the next steps.


Broadly our staffing body falls into four groups:

  1. Those who have worked in NSS buildings throughout the COVID-19 restrictions and will continue to do so
  2. Those who have worked from home but will now be asked to come into the office because their role requires them to be on site
  3. Those who have worked from home and will continue to do so
  4. Those who have worked from home and, due to specific personal circumstances, would like to request to work from an NSS building in future


Note to all line managers

All line managers need to carefully read through the Line Manager guidance and process flow diagrams available, as well as the relevant site risk assessments and any supporting guidance as they become available. This is to ensure that line managers accurately follow the required processes to enable staff across the four groups above to access any required support.


If you wish to find out more information on what changes NSS have made to our buildings re COVID-19 please watch the video’s below

Video 1 - Arriving at your workplace

Video 2 - Desks and workspaces - in an office environment

Video 3 - Moving around the office

NHS 24

We are all in this together.  We are committed to ensuring staff have all the information and support available to stay safe and well.

Information and social media

  • Get timely, accurate and factual information about COVID-19 from NHS inform
  • If you are feeling stressed or anxious, consider how you feel when you have constant exposure to media coverage and graphic news stories. Although it is important to stay informed, consider taking a break if you feel things are getting on top of you.

Looking after your basic needs

  • Take care of your basic needs at work. Eat and drink regularly and healthily. Always take your breaks during shifts
  • Allow time for sleep, rest and respite between shifts
  • Try and stay as connected to your friends and family as much as possible via technology
  • Where possible, maintain your normal daily routine and a healthy diet, and get fresh air when you can 
  • Think about creating a consistent routine to ensure you get the amount of sleep you need, but also about ensuring your bedroom is quiet, dark and a relaxing environment to sleep in
  • Use the Going Home Checklist below, as a way of leaving work, in work, and switching off from the day's events. 

Looking after each other

  • Speak to each other, whether its a colleague or your line manager. It’s good to talk 
  • If you are not a 'talker' - make sure you give yourself space to process the events of the day and deal with your feelings
  • Look out for each other and share small successes about what’s gone well.
  • Be kind to each other. We are all in it together


 To help you look after your own health and wellbeing, we recommend that you use this Going Home Checklist, as a way of leaving work, in work, and switching off from the day's events. 


NHS Education for Scotland

Please refer to the information in the tabs below.  If you cannot find the guidance or advice you are looking for please contact HR using the contact us tab.

Public Health Scotland

NSS are currently implementing the necessary updates to ensure that staff who need to return to an NSS building are able to safety do so.

PHS guidance is for staff to work at home, however there are staff that have been or are needed in the office for business/personal reasons.  To support this;

  1. PHS Health and Safety have completed Safe-Return Risk Assessment for Meridian Court and Gyle Square.
  2. Created an Employee Safe Office Return Checklist that provides the relevant documents and supporting guidance to ensure your safety while working in the office.

Scottish Ambulance Service

Please refer to the information in the tabs below.  If you cannot find the guidance or advice you are looking for please contact HR using the contact us tab.

    • COVID19 - Whats the difference between NSS Buildings and RestauantsPublic Health Scotland, National Services Scotland

    • Pausing of Shielding - Guidance & FAQsNational Services Scotland

      Shielding and Covid-19 Pandemic

      A number of NSS staff have been “shielding” during the Covid-19 pandemic due to being at higher risk of severe illness if they develop the condition. For some, that has meant working in their substantive role from home; for others that has meant working from home – but in an alternative role as their job cannot be undertaken from home.  In some instances, it may have resulted in someone being off work during this period, where it has not been possible for them to undertake alternative work from home.

      It has now been announced that with effect from 1st August 2020, the period of “shielding” will be paused and that, where appropriate, NSS colleagues can return to a Covid secure workplace.

      As someone who is currently shielding – what does that mean?

      The first step will be for you and your manager to have a discussion to look at what changes this may involve.  Your manager will work through this Risk Assessment with you to help to identify what the appropriate next steps are.  This may involve seeking some further advice and support from NSS Occupational Health.  This should be completed as soon as possible and certainly before any return to working in an NSS site.

      Does that mean that I will be returning to working normally?

      In some cases, if you have been working from home during the previous months, you will continue to do so.  If you have been working on alternative duties, or where no alternative duties have been available during the shielding period, it may be appropriate that NSS Occupational Health provide advice and guidance as to whether or not a return to your previous duties/site is appropriate and whether any adjustments are required.

      No-one will return to the workplace following shielding until a refreshed risk assessment has been undertaken, with input from NSS Occupational Health if appropriate and any necessary measures to make your workplace safe for your return have been put in place.  As there may be a number of staff in this category, this may take some time.

      What terms and conditions arrangements will apply until I have undergone my updated risk assessment?

      You will continue on the same arrangements you were on before 31st July 2020.

      What terms and conditions will apply if, after an updated risk assessment, I continue to be required to shield?

      If after completing the updated risk assessment you still need to shield, the present arrangements will continue to apply.

      5) What if I have concerns regarding returning to work?

      That would be understandable and should be discussed with your line manager during the completion of the Risk Assessment.  If any further advice or support is required, NSS Occupational Health would be happy to discuss.

      6) As the line manager of someone who is returning from “shielding” what additional support can I provide?

      Completing the Risk Assessment process is the first step in providing support.  NSS Occupational Health would be happy to provide any further advice and support required to you or your member of staff in helping them during this time.

      Wellbeing support services should also be sought for staff through the National Wellbeing Hub ( which signposts staff, unpaid carers, volunteers and their families to relevant services and provides a range of self-care and wellbeing resources designed to support the workforce as they respond to the impact of COVID-19.  All Health and social care workers can access mental health support through the national wellbeing helpline, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The number to call is 0800 111 4191.

      To help you more fully understand the route to pausing shielding, please refer to the Scottish Government Shielding Route Map

      When would I be expected to return to my normal role/place of work?

      This certainly wouldn’t be before the risk assessment process was undertaken.  After that it may be appropriate to ease you back into work over a short period of phased return.  The arrangements for this would need to be discussed and agreed with NSS Occupational Health.  In some instances, it may be that homeworking will continue to be in place for a further period of time.

      8) I haven’t been booking Annual Leave during the shielding period – what happens now?

      You and your manager now have to agree how to make sure that you use your annual leave entitlement over the remaining 8 months of the annual leave year.  Applications to carry forward large annual leave balances are unlikely to be supported and it is important that you take time away from work for the benefit of your physical and emotional health.

      As a line manager, is there anything further I need to put in place once the member of staff who was shielding returns to work?

      Please remember that, if they were placed on Special Leave during this time, you should update records to show that this has now ceased.