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From today, non-essential shops (with extended hours), gyms, hairdressers, pubs and restaurants serving outside can reopen as England's lockdown is further eased. It may also see more workers returning to their offices. This reinforces the importance and need for employers to carry out a COVID workplace risk assessment, both to protect workers and customers.

In advance of today’s planned easing of restrictions, British Safety Council carried out a survey on LinkedIn (the world's largest professional network) asking employers whether they have or will be carrying out a COVID specific risk assessment ahead of employees returning to work. The results of the survey showed that 95% of the employers that responded have or will be carrying out a COVID risk assessment. For some employers this meant 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.

British Safety Council welcomes these findings, which provide confidence that most employers are doing right by their workforce.

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of British Safety Council, 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 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 and employers owe a duty of care to their workers to take the steps necessary to remove them from harm’s way.”

“There is good reason to remain vigilant to bolster protection against a resurgence of hospital cases and deaths in the future, which Government modelling sees as “highly likely”. While the rate of decline in COVID infection has slowed in recent weeks, according to Government data, 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.”

“Any further relaxation of restrictions must be data, not date, led.”