From 1 April 2022, the Health and Safety Executive has announced that it no longer requires businesses in England to include COVID-19 in their risk assessments. It's website now states that:
COVID-19 will remain a public health issue, and guidance for workplaces is being replaced with public health advice.
They add that:
HSE no longer requires every business to consider COVID-19 in their risk assessment or to have specific measures in place. There is a requirement to protect those who will come into contact with the virus due to their work activity.
More on this can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/index.htm
In addition, the Government has removed all health and safety guidance for individual sectors from its Coronavirus website. There is now general public health advice available on the site at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the UK Health Protection Ahency website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reducing-the-spread-of-respiratory-infections-including-covid-19-in-the-workplace.
As well as this, the Government has:
● Removed the guidance on voluntary COVID-status certification in domestic settings and no longer recommends that certain venues use the NHS COVID Pass.
● Updated guidance setting out the ongoing steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with other people. This will align with the changes to testing.
● No longer provides free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England.
● Consolidated guidance to the public and businesses, in line with public health advice.
Despite the above, COVID-19 is still with us. As I write, the Office for National Statistics have stated that around 1 in 13 currently have COVID-19. New variants rear their head from time to time, and there is currently a variant that is a cross between the Delta variant and Omicron variant, which is causing more sickness than some of the recent variants. As such it is strongly recommended that the good coronavirus practices that businesses have carried out in recent years continue.
It is also recommended that COVID-19 risk assessments are not fully scrapped but incorporated into a more generic infectious diseases risk assessment, something that is always recommended as best practice.
As always, KSH Safety Services can advise further if required. Our specific Coronavirus website has been updated today, however after the initial information, the many useful links that we have added over recent years are now only displayed as an archive, and the page will not be updated unless any restrictions return.
The above information is relevant only to England. Restrictions may remain elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Links to regional Governmental advice and guidance can be found by clicking the location below: