We are only 4 weeks into January and already this is the second time I have blogged about updating risk assessments. My last Blog on the subject can be found here.
Why I am nagging you again is that on 20 January 2021, the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 came into force strengthening the footing of health & safety risk assessments in the light of Covid. Any businesses who are remaining open as a workplace during lockdown need to undertake a specific fresh assessment of the risk of exposure of coronavirus at that workplace. That risk assessment has to be in accordance with the management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
This means conducting a revised risk assessment and not just relying on something you have used earlier. It also means consulting with staff when completing the assessment, recording it if you have got more than a handful of employees and publishing it so it is available for the relevant people who wish to see it.
As with any risk assessment, the aim of the game is to assess what the risks are and then reduce them to the lowest practicable level by taking suggested preventative measures.
What is different about these Regulations you may ask? The Regulations are reinforcing the Health & Safety measures that were already in place anyway but strengthen the requirement to re-assess on a regular basis. In future cases where these sort of issues are in dispute, it will be harder for employers to argue that they didn’t realise that they needed to be doing this as there will have been announcements and publicity this week. This inevitably brings the matter to employees attention, as well as notifying them (if their employer is not doing these things), of that fact and raising awareness amongst staff of shortcomings.
For example, we can foresee grievances where employees are complaining that their employers have not done these things and that perhaps the last risk assessment that was done was in May 2020.
Refreshing Law Ltd
21 January 2021