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TSSA updated guidance on working through the pandemic

8 January 2021

TSSA has today issued updated guidance for all transport and travel members working through the Covid-19 pandemic. With national lockdowns in place, and a new strain of the virus taking grip, it is vital that all workers follow safety procedures and know your workplace rights

Read our updated guidance document in full here   Covid 19- January 2021 TSSA Guidance on National Lockdown.

One of the most successful ways to avoid the virus is to obey the rules set out by your national government, with a particular emphasis on:
• Staying at home as much as possible, avoiding contact with people outside those you live with
• Maintaining 2 metre social distancing
• Washing hands regularly
• Wearing face coverings where required

Recent studies have shown that Covid-19 can be transmitted in aerosols when in poorly ventilated areas, so good ventilation really matters!

Employers are legally obliged to undertake risk assessments in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission and infection to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. You have a right to see that risk assessment – which should have been produced with your TSSA health and safety rep – and there is more detail in the guidance document.

Please note that PPE is the last action on the list of priorities and should only be resorted to when all other options have been exhausted. TSSA raised questions at RICF on 7 January 2021 about the standard of face masks which in England are usually made of only two layers following Government advice. With the increased virulence of the new strain of CV19, the Union feels that the recommendation from the World Health Organisation (already used by the Welsh Government) for three layers of protection should be adopted. The ORR has undertaken to look into this matter.

A reminder that – via the Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum (RICF) – employers have agreed that Covid-related absences do not count towards managing for attendance type monitoring. RICF has also recognised the increased risks of Covid-19 being experienced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members (as well as all employees with increased vulnerabilities due to age, gender and staff with underlying health conditions). A set of agreed principles applies to those groups, available in the guidance document.

Unless you are a driver or guard, you should not be working on a train or travelling by train on work business unless there is a clear need for you to do so in order to ensure the provision of a safe and secure essential train service.

You have the legal right to refuse to begin a task or continue with a task if you believe that to do so would place you or your colleagues in serious and imminent danger of potential infection by the Covid-19 virus. The general right originates from Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. You must follow your employer’s procedure that allows you to do this. If you do refuse to commence work or stop working under these circumstances, you should immediately report this to your TSSA rep, or the TSSA Helpdesk.

If you have Covid19 symptoms - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste – you should NOT go to work. Instead, you should self-isolate, stay at home, and get tested. Only if you get a negative test result should you then go to work. If you get a positive result you MUST self-isolate for the suggested period.

Tell us what is happening where you work:
If you are in a non-operational role, please complete the form on our website at:

In the first instance, please contact your TSSA rep with any queries or concerns you may have. If you are unsure of who your rep is, please contact our Helpdesk.

TSSA Helpdesk Contact Details:
Call: 0800 328 2673. The Helpdesk is open 9am-5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-4pm on Fridays.
Or you can fill out a website form at any time here:

More information and guidance documents related to Coronavirus are available here:


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