Since March 2020, almost 5,600 Covid-19 related reports were made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Reports have shown that:

• 8 per cent of Covid-19 related reports made to the HSE raised concerns about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

• 48 per cent of reports raised concerns about social distancing at work and employers' failures to implement social distancing measures - 25 per cent of these reports were made as far into the pandemic as October and November 2020.

These reports emphasise the health and safety obligations on employers and the duty of care owed to staff. Employers must ensure that they protect public health and comply with government guidance, not only to reduce the risk of claims, but also reputational damage.

Employers have duties to keep workers safe from Covid-19.

Employers have duties to keep workers safe from Covid-19.

The HSE can investigate and 'name and shame' employers who are not complying, as well as to take enforcement action against businesses, senior managers and directors where there have been breaches.

As a reminder, employers must:

• Carry out regular risk assessments to ensure the measures in place are adequate, especially in response to infection rates and virus variants.

• Implement, review, follow, and enforce clear and robust policies regarding Covid-19.

• Ensure relevant PPE is available at the workplace.

• Introduce health and safety/PPE training for staff.

• Consider reducing the number of people at the workplace at one time to minimise human contact.

• Follow HSE guidance regarding social distancing and implement measures such as providing signage to remind people to keep a two-metre distance, limiting people in lifts and work vehicles, and having people work side-by-side rather than face-to-face.

• Listen to and explore any concerns raised regarding Covid-19 security and health and safety. Take sufficient time to respond to such concerns and consult with staff about the measures in place.

• Consider whether Covid-19 testing is necessary and whether it is reasonable to require staff to have tests.

  • Michael Delaney is a partner at award-winning law firm VWV, which has offices in Clarendon Road, Watford. Get in touch on 07909 912 564 or