Covid-19 Risk Assessments No Longer Required For Most Businesses In England And Scotland

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Now that coronavirus restrictions are being replaced with public health advice, the HSE have updated their website to say that they no longer expect all organisations to consider Covid-19 in their risk assessments or to have specific measures in place.

Higher risk activities such as laboratories handling virus specimens or health and social care working with infectious patients will still be expected to carry out risk assessments and have control measures in place.

Current HSE guidance can be found at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/index.htm?utm_source=hse.gov.uk&utm_medium=refferal&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=covid&utm_content=home-page-popular

In England the government has also updated their guidance to say that people who become ill with  symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19 and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you no longer feel unwell.

They should try to work from home where possible.

If they are not able to stay at home, in particular if they have had a positive covid test result the advice is:

  • wear a well-fitting face covering made with multiple layers or a surgical face mask
  • avoid crowded places such as public transport, large social gatherings, or anywhere that is enclosed or poorly ventilated
  • take any exercise outdoors in places where you will not have close contact with other people
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose and before you eat or handle food; avoid touching your face

 

In addition there is now no requirement to report workplace outbreaks of respiratory infections to your local public health team. You should continue with covid type controls to minimise the spread of infections and if you experience high levels of people with respiratory symptoms in your workplace you should review and enhance these measures.

Full guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reducing-the-spread-of-respiratory-infections-including-covid-19-in-the-workplace

Similar advice also applies in Scotland and can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-general-guidance-for-safer-workplaces/pages/risk-assessment/ however while Covid risk assessments are no longer required, they are still recommended.

The situation in Wales is different as the Welsh government has announced that Covid risk assessments will continue to be a requirement until at least 18th April. Details of the current position in Wales can be found at: https://gov.wales/coronavirus