“Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their employees”
Employment partner Jane Mann was interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning by BBC business journalist Dominic O’Connell.
With detailed guidance from the Government on returning to work following the lockdown expected this coming weekend, Jane discussed the risk assessments that employers should carry out. “Employers must rapidly update their existing health and safety policies to take account of Covid-19 risks,” she said. And whilst health and safety policies do not usually take account of pandemics, “An employer is responsible for looking after their own organisation and working out what the risks are and the practical steps that they should take.”
Employers are required to take reasonable steps to protect their staff, but are not required to guarantee their safety. Those who follow the Government’s guidance, and can demonstrate that they have done so, are less likely to be criticised than those who do not take the government’s new guidance in to account.
Jane also commented that employers should now start work on developing a protocol for managing the situation where an employee who has caught the virus presents themselves at work.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 employers and individual directors can be prosecuted for health and safety failings and can face civil liability for injuries and illnesses suffered at work where there is a failure to take reasonable care to safeguard the health and safety of their staff.
Jane’s interview is the second item on the link below and begins 3m 25s into the clip.
Tuesday’s business with Dominic O’Connell (6 days left to listen)
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