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Markel Insurance

30 May 2020

Health and safety checklist for employers requiring staff to return to work

At Markel, we believe that you should Expect More from your lawyers, insurers and tax professionals. We are committed to delivering the best advice and assistance to all of our customers and we will continue to do so during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

The Government recently outlined its plans to enable certain sectors in England to return to work. The devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have also set out their own plans and anyone living or working in those jurisdictions should consider the specific guidance that relates to the devolved nations.

The recently released guidance for England relates to construction and other outdoor work; factories, plants and warehouses; offices and contact centres; labs and research facilities; other people’s homes; restaurants offering takeaway or delivery; vehicles; shops and branches.

The guidance will inevitably evolve as the circumstances including the medical and scientific experts react to the pandemic, therefore it is important to keep abreast of all such changes and respond accordingly. In our experience, appointing a designated COVID-19 lead is helpful for businesses to keep up to date and provides ownership of this key risk factor.

It is important to note that the guides do not replace existing health and safety obligations, however, they should be considered by employers when assessing risk and implementing control measures.

As an employer, the day-to-day operations of your business will inevitably change but your legal responsibility to protect employees and non-employees from risks to their health and safety remains.

Whilst this is a worrying time for the nation as a whole, it also presents an opportunity for businesses to review their working practices and policies which, in turn, may lead to different and more effective ways of working. For example, it is highly likely that more agile and flexible working practices will be commonplace. Provided that there is appropriate consultation with employees and the expectations of those involved are properly managed, businesses may develop better relationships with employees and better productivity thereof.

In summary, it is vital that businesses begin to think about the future now and act in compliance with the existing health and safety duties, as well as, the recently released sector-specific guidance.

Failure to do so will not only risk intervention and possible enforcement action from the HSE but it may also impact upon the future viability of your business and even your insurance policies and premiums. If you can tick off the points on the checklist below, you are on the right track in terms of your health and safety planning.

For further information and advice on health and safety in the workplace, contact Deborah Nicholson or call us on 0371 705 4006.

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Our COVID-19 Hub contains a range of information and resources to best support our clients during this difficult time. To receive the latest news and insights by email sign-up here.

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