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Make own work from home judgements, says IOSH

06 October 2021

BUSINESSES SHOULDN'T just wait for Government advice to work from home – they should regularly review their COVID-19 safety measures to ensure they remain effective, according to IOSH.

With many countries continuing to see rising virus cases, Governments are reviewing existing measures, including how and where people should be working.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that businesses may be asked to revert to home working should virus cases rise significantly in the coming months. This could, he said, form part of the Government’s ‘Plan B’, which would be enacted if serious concerns emerge about the National Health Service coming under severe pressure.

But IOSH is urging organisations to judge for themselves whether they should make such a move, adding that looking after workers should be their priority.

Ruth Wilkinson, IOSH Head of Health and Safety, said: “There is a potential for COVID-19 transmission within and getting to workplaces so, should cases begin to spike as we head into the autumn and winter months, consideration must be given to how the spread of the virus can be prevented and contacts reduced. One measure is through reverting back to people working from home which will support the other controls already in place.

“As with all other health and safety risks, a business’s number one priority must be the prevention, management and control of these effectively and putting in place proportionate measures to prevent workers from coming to harm.

“So, we recommend that employers shouldn’t simply wait for any Government directive or advice to implement work from home measures; they should be regularly reviewing their risk assessment and monitoring their Covid arrangements and controls to ensure they continue to be effective and taking action to amend these measures where necessary.

“If cases do rise significantly this winter, we could be in for a difficult few months, but employers and employees can all play their part by implementing and following working safely guidelines and implementing good risk management and control measures.”

With the occupational safety and health profession that IOSH represents playing a leading role in how businesses have continued to operate during the pandemic, the Institution has a suite of free resources for its members and businesses to use to help them protect their workers.

It includes guidance around making workplaces COVID secure and looking after the mental health and wellbeing of staff.

These resources are available to view at iosh.com/coronavirus