We really would like to send you an update about another subject but this seems to be all that’s happening in the world! As you will be aware, the UK Government instituted Lockdown 3 on the 5th January 2021. This has no doubt caused considerable anxiety and turmoil for both your business and personal lives.
In terms of the health and safety implications, thankfully there should be little in the way of extra work to be undertaken. The controls that you’ve implemented over the past 9 months still apply and you should continue with these measures. This will mean that risk assessments should be reviewed to make sure that they are still valid, but should not require a full re-write.
So what are the main changes then?
- Work from home – previously the guidance had been work from home if possible. This has now subtly changed to you must work from home unless it is impossible to do so. Industries such as construction and manufacturing, public sector work (such as teaching) are good examples of where work cannot be undertaken from home. It should be noted that travel for work, where it cannot be done from home, is still permitted.
- Some businesses must close – hospitality, personal care, leisure facilities and schools must close until further notice. A full list of these businesses is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
- Clinically Extremely Vulnerable – anyone categorised as clinically extremely vulnerable must now remain at home. Should work be unable to be provided for working at home, then the government’s advice is to make use of the furlough scheme if appropriate.
We’ve also been asked a number of questions about pregnancy and COVID-19. The Royal College of Gynaecologists (RCOG) advice previously was that anyone in the third trimester would be at increased risk and would need to shield. This guidance has now been rescinded and new advice has been given by RCOG that applies to all stages of the pregnancy. The new guidance is that pregnancy should not put anyone at any greater risk from COVID, but that it would be appropriate to ensure social distancing measures for anyone pregnant at all stages of pregnancy.
Again, we appreciate that you may find these changes difficult, and if you are in need of help, please contact our H&S and HR consultants who are ready to assist.
Doncaster: 01302 341 344
Sheffield: 0114 243 9914