Last reviewed 15 April 2021

With non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers and other premises now re-opened as England's lockdown eases, the British Safety Council (BSC) decided to check that organisations were prepared.

It carried out a survey on LinkedIn asking employers about their plans and discovered that 95% have carried out, or will be carrying out, a Covid specific risk assessment ahead of employees returning to work.

For some employers this means reviewing and updating an existing risk assessment in combination with return to work interviews and ongoing conversations to ensure workers feel safe and comfortable in the workplace.

The BSC welcomed these moves given the need for employers to protect both workers and customers.

Chief Executive Mike Robinson said: “We are encouraged by the results of our recent survey, which shows that a significant number of employers are managing the risk of Covid in the workplace. This will also help to reassure customers as more people will inevitably return to shops, shopping centres, leisure facilities, pubs and restaurants.”

Now is not the time, he went on, for employers and the Government to be complacent about workplace safety despite the fall in hospital admissions, infection rates and deaths.

Everyone should be safe at work, Mr Robinson stressed, and employers owe a duty of care to their workers to take the steps necessary to remove them from harm’s way.

He pointed out that, while the rate of decline in Covid infection has slowed in recent weeks, Government data shows that 10% of local areas in England have seen a rise in case rates, including Barnsley, Corby, Luton, Mansfield and Wakefield.

“There are third waves of Covid infection already happening in parts of Europe and the UK is expected to have a similar resurgence,” Mr Robinson concluded. “Any further relaxation of restrictions must be data, not date, led.”