Last reviewed 25 January 2021

A number of trade unions have come together to press the Environment Agency to review its risk assessments.

UNISON, Prospect, GMB and Unite said that, while they have engaged positively with the Agency on a range of health and safety issues during the pandemic, the increased transmission rates of the new coronavirus variant have caused concerns.

The unions have issued a health and safety union improvement notice calling for the Environment Agency to review measures, in particular for the introduction of compulsory face coverings in communal areas and consideration of flexible start and finish times to reduce social contact with colleagues.

While many of the Agency’s employees are working from home at the present time, some essential workers are still attending depots and other workplaces.

UNISON head of health and safety Robert Baughan said: “By going into work, many of our members are already risking their health. The least they can expect from employers is the assurance that everything that is reasonable has been put in place to keep them safe”.

He said that UNISON has requested a response from the Environment Agency by 26 January.

“This case has demonstrated the importance, in the light of the new variant, of all employers reviewing their risk assessments, and ensuring that all measures, such as wearing of face coverings in communal areas, are put in place,” Mr Baughan concluded.