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Risk Assessment Requirements and COVID-19

Risk Assessment Requirements

And COVID-19

The presence of COVID-19 in the UK has not gone away; however, the respective devolved governments are each working towards a Living with COVID plan.

In recent months we have seen numerous changes to the requirements associated with managing and living with COVID, and there seems to be a move across the UK to de-regulate the control requirements and leave it up to individuals and employers to manage COVID risks accordingly.

Below is a summary of the restrictions, requirements and controls as of 4th April, 2022.

England:

The Government in England suggests that individuals should take personal responsibility and that they should choose to:

1. Get vaccinated.

2. Let fresh air in if meeting others indoors.

3. Practise good hygiene:

a. wash your hands

b. cover your coughs and sneezes

c. clean your surroundings frequently

4. Wear a face covering or a face mask

If any individual has symptoms or does not feel well enough to work, they should stay at home and avoid contact with others.

Free lateral flow tests are no longer available for most people, and the guidance suggests that testing is generally not required, with a few exceptions relating to health care and vulnerable individuals.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Advice for workplaces (hse.gov.uk)

The Health and Safety Executive no longer requires every business to consider COVID-19 in a specific risk assessment or to have specific control measures in place. There is, however, a requirement to protect those who will come into contact with the virus due to their work activity. In these cases, such work activities include research with the virus.

The guidance from the Government requires everyone, including employers, to be vigilant.

In Wales:

Persons with symptoms may order a free lateral flow test and are advised to self-isolate. Free tests are no longer available for asymptomatic people. Although they are advised, there is no specific requirement to wear facemasks, with some exceptions. Exceptions include health care facilities.

Alert level 0: guidance for employers, businesses and organisations GOV.WALES

Businesses, employers and other organisations in Wales have a duty to protect their employees and customers while on their premises. While there are some important actions that can be taken to control risks, businesses, employers and other organisations are no longer legally required to conduct a specific coronavirus risk assessment. (Updated 18/4/2022)

Should your organisation deem it necessary, you can continue to conduct specific coronavirus risk assessments.

In Scotland:

While not legally required it is strongly recommended that you continue to consider COVID-19 as part of your assurance procedures. Public Health Scotland has public health guidance for a range of settings.

The latest information can be obtained here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). (Updated 18/4/2022)

In Northern Ireland:

Lateral flow tests are free to anyone, and people are encouraged to test regularly. Where an individual has symptoms, they should self-isolate and book a PCR test.

Face coverings are no longer legally required, although people are encouraged to wear them, particularly in indoor areas.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying safe at work | nidirect

Employees are encouraged to work from home where possible. However, if they are required to attend a workplace, then a specific COVID-19 risk assessment is required.

Conclusion:

COVID-19 is very much present in the UK, and the devolved administrations are taking slightly different approaches to its control.

The bottom line is that everyone should be vigilant and mindful of others. General good hygiene practices should remain in place, and persons who feel unwell should not attend the workplace.

Contact us for further information.