Return to work and risk assessments during COVID-1904/06/20
On 11 May 2020, the Government set out its recovery strategy and stated that those who could not work from home should return to the workplace if their workplaces were open. A set of guidance was produced to help those returning to work to do so safely. Please see our previous alert on this issue here.
Risk assessments are key to a successful return to work. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers have a duty to carry out a risk assessment, set up and implement safe systems of work and to keep these under review. We have produced a risk assessment flowchart setting out the key issues for employers to consider.
For many public sector employers where workers are required to enter people’s homes, risk assessments should include consideration of how to minimise risk to both service users and employees. Where a service user is self-isolating because they have COVID-19 symptoms or where they have been told to shield because they are extremely clinically vulnerable, a worker should not enter that person’s home unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household which will need to be assessed on a case by case basis.
It remains the case that where an individual can continue to work from home, they should do so. Where it is necessary to return, employers should consider the risks posed to vulnerable workers taking into account the transmission risk. This forms part of our risk assessment flowchart.
If you have any queries regarding your health and safety duties and risk assessments, please contact David Firth. For any employment queries regarding a return to work, please contact Nicola Green or Sarah Parkinson.