Ongoing impact of Covid-19: Return to Work Risk Assessments

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For the past 2 years employers have had to adapt rapidly in response to Covid-19 and everchanging government requirements. One such requirement was the production of Covid-19 specific risk assessments.

As Plan B is lifted, and with it the recommendation to work from home, now is the time to revisit these risk assessments to ensure that they take into account increased numbers of employees and visitors on-site.

Many employees haven’t attended the workplace since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020. These individuals may, understandably, be hesitant to return. Whilst up-to-date risk assessments are a requirement under health and safety legislation, they may also help nervous employees feel safe to return to work and are key to demonstrating that you’re doing all you reasonably can to protect your staff.

Risk assessments should be made accessible to employees. We recommend therefore that they be stored on an intranet or in a shared file. You may also want to display key information throughout the workplace or notify staff of changes by email. Employers with more than 50 employees are also still advised to publish their risk assessments on their website.

Whilst there may no longer be a government requirement to wear face coverings, as an employer you have the discretion to continue this and other Covid-19 practices, if you’re satisfied doing so protects the health and safety of staff. If you would like staff to continue observing Covid-19 practices, in addition to notifying staff we recommend having a clear policy in place confirming your expectations and the consequences if staff refuse to comply without good reason.

If you would like support updating your policies, communicating changes to your risk assessments, or need assistance with enforcing a return to the workplace, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

(February 2022)