Confusion over guidance on Covid workplace safety – TUC

The TUC wrote to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warning that workers’ safety was being put at risk.

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The Government is being urged to clear up “confusion” over its guidance on Covid-related workplace risk assessment.

The TUC wrote to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warning that workers’ safety was being put at risk.

The union organisation said the Prime Minister’s plan for “living with Covid” meant that from April employers will no longer have to explicitly consider the virus in their risk assessments.

The TUC said this conflicts with the statutory duty employers have to assess the risks to the health and safety of staff.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Wherever you work, you have a right to be safe, and your employer has a responsibility to fully assess the risks you face and take appropriate action.

“Ministers are sowing dangerous confusion on Covid safety at work.

“Longstanding rules on workplace safety clearly indicate that employers should consider Covid risks, but the Government has sent out a conflicting message, and this may leave working people facing risks that could and should be prevented.

“We want ministers to clear up this confusion by advising employers that they must still consider Covid-19 in workplace risk assessments.

“We are advising workplace health and safety reps that they should continue to request specific information on Covid-19 when they are consulted on risk assessments.”

A Government spokesperson said: “If someone is displaying Covid-19 symptoms or has tested positive they should be considered sick and should stay at home and avoid contact with others.

“It is our ambition that Covid-19 should be treated in a similar way to other infectious diseases. However, employers still have a duty of care to their staff so they should take steps to prevent infection in the workplace.”