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COVID-19 rapid testing in the workplace: everything employers need to know

If you’re testing your people in the workplace, you need to register your business before 12th April and follow the right legal processes. Here’s how…

Monday, Mar 15, 2021
3 min read

The government has recently announced a drive to increase COVID-19 testing in workplaces providing essential services during the current lockdown.

The aim is to detect COVID-19 early in people not showing any symptoms to stop the spread of the virus, because around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms and can spread it without knowing…

All businesses can now start regularly testing staff straight away—at least twice a week—helping to keep your people and your business safe.

The tests are super-easy to do, and the results come back in just 30 minutes. Millions of people are already using regular rapid testing, and the more of us that take part, the more we can help protect each other.

Remember: Still work from home

It’s important to note that the government’s message is still to work from home if you can. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“To save lives and protect the NHS, we have again asked for everyone to work from home. But we know that for some this is not possible, which is why the workplace rapid testing programme is so important.”

Is my business eligible for staff rapid testing?


Previously, your business had to have more than 50 employees to join the workplace rapid testing programme—but now businesses of all sizes can apply, including those that aren’t open yet.

It’s time to get testing…

How do I start regular rapid testing in my business?

If your business is registered in England, you should use this service on the government website to register to order free lateral flow tests for your employees.

Before you start, you’ll need your company name, your company registration number, and an email address. And don’t forget—you must register on or before 12th April 2021. Free tests will be provided until the end of June 2021.

These links will give you more information on coronavirus testing if your business is registered in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

And if your business is registered in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but you have employees in England, you’ll need to register by email: p-and-psector@dhsc.gov.uk

Community testing

If you’re a smaller business with up to 50 employees, there’s also another route you could go down, which is to go to your local test centre for a lateral flow test.

Use the postcode checker to find your nearest test centre or visit your local authority website to get a test at a local test centre.

Create a COVID-19 testing policy

Testing staff can be a little tricky. You can’t make anyone take a coronavirus test, but you can encourage staff to do so to keep themselves and your business safe.

One of the best ways to encourage staff to take a test is by creating a COVID-19 testing policy in your business, which all your staff have easy access to. The policy should set out:

  • Why testing at work is encouraged.
  • Who will manage the process (such as a third party or trained member of staff).
  • Where the testing will take place and how.
  • Details on how the results will be processed.

Keep your workplace COVID-secure

But don’t forget, while it’s great that the government is offering an extra layer of protection to businesses, you cannot rely on testing alone to keep your people safe, and testing should not replace any COVID-secure measures you have in place, such as social distancing and sanitising.

You must continue to follow all the government’s COVID-secure guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus in your workplace. And that’s where BrightSafe comes in…

Health & safety software and support

BrightSafe is our exclusive online software that helps you stick to COVID health & safety laws and cut your legal risk. It lets you:

  • Create and manage COVID-19 risk assessments to HSE standards.
  • Download a range of online workplace resources, including risk assessment templates, checklists, and posters.
  • Access exclusive e-learning courses to get your staff up to date with the latest health & safety rules.
  • Speak to qualified UK-based experts through the BrightSafe helpline. Call Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, for instant answers to all your COVID-19 safety queries.

To discover how BrightSafe helps protect you and your business through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, book your free demo today.

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