Mandatory Risk Assessments

Tuesday 12th May 2020

Guidance released by the Government yesterday requires businesses to carry out a COVID-19 Risk Assessment.

There are lots of risk assessment tools online but the key is to keep it simple and keep it under review.

You cannot cater for all eventualities but you need to consider the main and most obvious areas. The more complicated you make it the less likely you are to be able to follow it or adequately update it. Use easy to understand language and if its helps then colour coding can assist people in navigating it. Some risks will be bespoke to your business but others will be generic across all businesses and may include:

● Number of workers in the work space

● Workers who have to work in teams

● Use of and sharing of equipment

● Communal areas

● Break times and rest areas

● Travel to and work and travel for work

● Cleaning regimes – high traffic areas, low traffic areas

● Location of work spaces

● Location of workers within work spaces

● Working from home

● Interaction with the public

● Access by the public into the workspace

● Key person illness

● Development of symptoms at work

● Necessity of personal protective equipment

You need to keep your risk assessment under review as new or non-obvious risks emerge then you should update your risk assessment.

Your risk assessment should be compiled with the assistance of either your trade union’s representative or if you do not have one an elected employee health and safety representative. Employees on furlough can still carry out trade union or employee representative duties. You as the employer cannot dictate who the employee health and safety representative is. For more information on how to carry out employee representative elections please contact a member of our employment team on 01384 811 811.

You need to share your risk assessment with all employees.

If you have over 50 employees then the Government expects you to also publish it on your website.

The Government has published further industry specific guidance at covering the following sectors:

● Construction and other outdoor work

● Factories, plants and warehouses

● Labs and research facilities

● Offices and contact centres

● Other people’s homes

● Restaurants offering take away or delivery

● Shops and branches

● Vehicles.

You may need to consider more than one guidance publication for your business.

The Health and Safety Executive has lots of information and some useful templates for risk assessments but there is no set format.

Whilst it might seem like “another thing to do” or “more red tape” a risk assessment can be very helpful in not only proactively managing the safety of your employees but also defending criticism or claims.

For more information contact a member of our Employment Law Team on 01384 811 811 or email