Working Safely During COVID-19
Employers and businesses have taken significant steps over the pandemic to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 within their settings. The Government has now lifted the majority of legal requirements on businesses but continues to provide 'Working Safely’ guidance setting out the steps that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces.
The government has published its plan for living with COVID-19.
- You no longer have to work from home. You are advised to talk to your employer to agree arrangements.
- You’re no longer legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, government advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, following safe behaviour guidance.
- You’re no longer legally required to self-isolate if you’re an unvaccinated close contact, and you’re no longer advised to test for 7 days if you’re a fully vaccinated close contact.
- Vaccination remains your best protection from getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
The HSE continues to keep updated guidance for employers on keeping workplaces safe from COVID-19. This guidance is for employers, but employees may also find it useful.
1. Complete a risk assessment to manage the risk from COVID-19
From 1 April 2022, HSE no longer requires every business to consider COVID-19 in their risk assessment or to have specific measures in place. Employers should however continue to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Employers that specifically work with COVID-19, such as laboratories, must continue to undertake a risk assessment that considers COVID-19.
Your risk assessment should include management of the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your business. This will help you to understand what you should do to work safely and continue to protect people during the pandemic.
For more information and advice on how to complete your risk assessment, you may find the following resources useful:
- Examples of risk assessments for different environments
- Health and Safety toolbox- HSE
- Working safely during COVID-19 - HSE
Your risk assessment should include an up-to-date plan in case there is another COVID-19 outbreak, and you should continue to inform the local authority through the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox, who will be able to offer support and guidance.
2. Keeping your workplace clean
Keeping your workplace clean and practicing frequent handwashing reduces the potential for COVID-19 to spread. It is a critical part of making and keeping your workplace safe.
3. Providing adequate ventilation during the pandemic
Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. There are simple steps you can take to improve ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature in your workplace.
Any actions to improve ventilation should not compromise other aspects of safety and security (e.g. avoid propping open fire doors).
More information on ventilation of indoor spaces can be found on GOV. UK.
Although HSE will no longer require COVID-19 control measures, employers must continue to consult workers and their representatives on any changes they make that might affect health and safety.
You can find guidance on consulting and involving your workers.
5. Working from home
Although there is no longer a recommendation for employees to work from home, many businesses are continuing to choose to implement a work from home approach.
If your employees are working from home, you should:
- Provide the equipment they need, for example a computer, phone and video conferencing facilities
- Keep in regular contact with them, making sure you discuss their wellbeing
Find out more on how to protect home workers.
More guidance and advice
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has additional information on COVID-19 advice for workplaces.