Your employer has a legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of everyone in your workplace.
They do this by identifying, assessing, and controlling all those things that may cause you mental or physical harm.
People who are infectious with Covid-19 do not always have any symptoms and therefore it is difficult to control the infection risks.
This means employers must put in place different ways to protect people:
- For aerosol infection they must increase and improve ventilation, have less people in a space for less time, put up physical barriers where necessary like in reception areas or public transport and provide PPE (at FFP2/FFP3 standard) free.
- For large droplet spread they must ensure people are physically distancing by at least 2 metres and for this and indirect contact ensure improved cleaning takes place, touch points are removed as far as possible and hygiene is improved by providing cleaning stations with hand sanitisers and control of rubbish removal.
- Workers need to know what to do if they are feeling unwell and they should be given paid leave if they are sick or have to isolate.
- In addition face coverings at least at WHO standard should be provided for children in schools and public who enter workplaces.
Please note: Your employer has a legal duty in health and safety law and can be represented by your manager, head teacher, HR manager etc. this will be different in different workplaces.
As well as raising the issue with your employer you can register a concern with the Health & Safety Executive.
To support this, in the week beginning 1 March we are asking people to take five days of action in the workplace:
1 March – safety measures
There is increased risk of airborne transmission with the new more deadly and transmissible variants of Covid-19. Ask your employer if they’ve improved safety measures in the workplace. The Greater Manchester Hazards Centre has produced a guide for reviewing risk assessments in light of Covid-19.
2 March – procedures
There should be a procedure follow if you are put at risk of infection by Covid-19. This could include a safe place to go to, who to contact etc. Ask your employer what the procedure is. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 define legal obligations with regards to Health and Safety.
3 March – ventilation
Ventilation has been shown to be important in reducing the risk of airborne infection. Ask your employer how ventilation is being safely increased in all areas, including toilets. This webinar produced by the Hazards Campaign discusses ventilation.
4 March – cleaning
Cleaning by people trained in infection control is vital. Ask your employer how cleaning is being increased and who is doing the cleaning. The Health and Safety Executive has produced guidelines on cleaning and hygiene.
5 March – travel
Travel to and from your workplace is a potential risk. Ask to vary your working hours to reduce infection risk on congested rush hour public transport. This ACAS guide covers commuting.