With lockdown restrictions in England set to ease further this weekend, the British Safety Council (BSC) has sounded a warning to employers that they will need to remain vigilant to threat of Covid-19 to workers.
From 4 July – so-called “super Saturday” – pubs, cafes, restaurants, museums, libraries, cinema, hotels, hairdressers and barbers will all be able to open. The two-metre social distancing rule is also being relaxed to “one metre plus”.
But, with the threat from the virus not going away, as witnessed with Leicester being put back into a local lockdown because of a spike in cases, the BSC has reminded employers they will still have a duty of care to protect their staff from exposure to the virus.
The council highlighted the government’s new guidance, which includes avoiding face-to-face seating, reducing the number of people inside, improving ventilation, changing shift patterns and increasing face coverings, including mandatory face coverings on public transport.
BSC chief executive Michael Robinson said: “Covid-19 has obviously not gone away, it remains a risk and it is right that employers, who have a duty of care to their staff, do everything they can to protect them as they get ready to re-open in July.
Covid-19 has obviously not gone away, it remains a risk and it is right that employers, who have a duty of care to their staff, do everything they can to protect them
“The prime minister has said that caution is the ‘government’s watchword’, and I hope that it is. The precautionary principle is at the heart of health and safety management – by planning, acting and checking processes we can reduce the risk and keep people safe.
“Like the prime minister, I hope people will apply common sense, and that means taking into account the very real risk that remains, even as the lockdown ends,” he added.