Regulatory Services COVID-19 Business Advice
The government has published its plan for living with COVID-19.
COVID-19 risk assessments and regulations
COVID is still a hazard that businesses need to consider and risk assess. It’s important that you continue to put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
On 1 April 2022, the UK Health Security Agency published guidance which sets out public health principles for reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace.
The guidance is for:
- workforce managers (of both paid staff and volunteers)
- people who are managing a workplace or organisation
While there is no longer a requirement for all employers to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their statutory health and safety risk assessments, it is important that as a business, organisation or employer you continue to comply with your legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment and equality duties.
All businesses should follow the principles set out in the public health principles for reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19. The government is no longer instructing people to work from home. The expectation and recommendation is for a gradual return. Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment. This includes the risk of COVID-19, and the steps to mitigate the risks you identify. There are a range of measures that we know help reduce the risk. Employers should consider:
- cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
- providing hand sanitiser
- maintaining supplies of soap and drying facilities at wash basins
- identifying poorly ventilated areas and taking steps to improve air flow
- ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
- communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place
- vaccinations are very effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19, flu and other diseases. Employers, in accordance with their existing legal obligations, may wish to consider how best to support and enable staff who wish to be vaccinated to get their vaccines when offered them
- employers may wish to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19. This includes those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness
- there is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings. In some situations, it is still recommended that workers and customers wear face coverings in enclosed and crowded areas
COVID-19 in the workplace
This is when more than one confirmed case is associated with your premises or business. Early outbreak management and intervention remains critical to contain any outbreak and minimise possible wider cases in the community.
You do not need to report workplace outbreaks to your local public health team. If you experience high levels of people with respiratory symptoms in your workplace please make sure you promote the measures above and apply them more rigorously.