Returning to work under Covid-19

With so much uncertainty over risk and safety lots of people are asking 'will it be safe for me to return to work'?

Safety is, of course a relative concept. For lots of reasons, beyond Covid-19, you are much safer staying at home rather than venturing out, travelling, or going to work.

A risk assessment is essential

There are seven main control measures available to combat the spread of the virus in the workplace. They are set out in the list opposite, based on their relative effectiveness. These are the only real options available and, apart from working at home, employers have to select combinations of these control measures based on an assessment of the risks of their work activities and workplaces. There is no one size fits all solution so every employer will need to carry out a detailed risk assessment for their business activity.

COVID 19 presents special risks

Unlike conventional OHS risks, COVID 19 does not arise from a work-related activity but from the people at work and with whom workers come into contact. Nobody, including the Government, is 100% certain about which measures are going to be most effective in preventing the tranmission of the virus. You will need to adopt a flexible approach and be prepared to review your risk assessment on a regular basis.

Communication and engagement are crucial

Control of Covid-19 will require the largest workplace behavioural safety programme we have ever seen. People returning to work will be anxious and sceptical about their safety and the most effective control measure is going to be good communication and complete engagement. As an employer, it is vital that you consult your employees indvidually and through their workplace representatives to ensure that everybody is on board and committed to the measures you have adopted. It is essential that your risk assessment be carried openly and be available to all employees.

Ian Travers

COVsafe is a trading name of

Ian Travers Ltd

Barnston House
Beacon Lane
Wirral CH60 0EE