Government guidance is “short on detail” at a time when workers need to know they are safe

British Safety Council launches new post-lockdown support for employers

The British Safety Council has today responded to the government’s latest guidance on measures to limit the spread of coronavirus following the prime minister’s address to the nation on Sunday evening. The 60-page document  sets out the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. The document includes setting out a new “more differentiated approach to risk” and advises that workplaces should follow new “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines, which will be published this week. The aim of the guidelines is to ensure the risk of infection is as low as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods.

Speaking after the guidance was published this afternoon the chief executive of the British Safety Council Mike Robinson said:

“There is very little detail in this new document about how the government expects employers to make workplaces safer, beyond what amounts to common sense – we will have to wait to see what the guidelines say when they are published later in the week. I fear that in rushing to have something to say the government has just muddied the waters leaving everyone more confused and putting workers at risk.

British Safety Council echoes trade union demands that the government must provide clear direction to workers and businesses by introducing tough new rules on workplace safety.

Mike Robinson went on to say:

“The unions are right to insist, as we at the British Safety Council insist, that the workplace safety must be paramount before we should expect people to return to work but actions by employers must be proportionate. If the plans include new enforceable regulations, then we really need to see the detail of how they envisage that working as regulations in this scenario will be incredibly tricky. The government also need to commit to providing the HSE and local authority enforcement with the resources it needs.”

The British Safety Council has developed new support for employers, including a new COVID-19 specific risk assessment for employers to use in setting up their Preparedness and Response Plan.

Mike Robinson concluded by saying:

“Workers have a right to safe workplaces and employers deserve clarity from government as to what is expected of them. Whatever the guidance says when it finally comes out, we stand ready to help any organisation ensure they are taking every possible step to protect employees and customers.”