The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has called on businesses to “not let their guard down” to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t spread rapidly through workplaces.
With children returning to school in much of England this week and people attending sports and music events in their thousands again, many experts are predicting a rise in virus cases.
This is why employers must ensure they continue to have robust measures in place to prevent transmission, says IOSH, adding that now is a good time to review their effectiveness.
“This virus hasn’t gone away, with many thousands being infected daily in the UK alone and many of these cases leading to people becoming seriously ill,” said Ruth Wilkinson, IOSH’s Head of Health and Safety.
“Since lockdown restrictions were eased, many businesses have continued to operate or have reopened and gradually returned to their workplaces or to work activities successfully, with measures in place to prevent and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
“But now is not a time to be complacent so we are urging businesses to not let their guard down, as COVID-19 remains a hazard within the workplace. As part of risk assessment processes, they need to ensure COVID-19 risks are identified, control measures are in place, and they are actively monitored and reviewed to ensure they remain effective.”
Last week, reports suggested that children returning to schools in Scotland had led to a rise in COVID infections.
IOSH says occupational safety and health professionals continue to have a vital role to play in protecting workers and others, not only from COVID-19 but also from other health and safety risks.
Measures to manage the risks include modifying working patterns to limit numbers in the workplace at one time, implementing measures to mitigate the risk of airborne transmission and ensuring workers stay off site if they are unwell.
“Risk assessments are the starting point for it all, as they can help to identify the risks of transmission, persons at higher risk, and importantly the proportionate controls to protect workers, clients, consumers and communities,” added Ruth.
IOSH September 2021