Employers who fail to ‘protect vulnerable staff’ risk of legal backlash

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As the rise in cases continues to increase amid the ‘second employers are faced with an obligation to protect their staff, particularly those vulnerable to Covid-19.

Employers who fail to meet their legal obligations to protect staff could find themselves in breach of legislation and facing enforcement action, says a Safe Team Health and Safety Consultant.

They said it is important that employers implement strategies to protect these workers – particularly those defined as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.

The consultant said: “Employers have a legal duty to protect workers from harm. They should make sure to consider the risk to workers who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus and put controls in place to reduce that risk.”

The consultant added: “Consultations, ongoing support and discussions between management and individual workers around particular concerns – as well as risk management procedures and controls – will be particularly important.”

Clinically extremely vulnerable workers

Clinically extremely vulnerable workers include individuals with underlying health conditions – such as heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, workers over the age of 60 and new or expectant mothers.

How to reduce the risk

Employers can accommodate additional health and safety precautions for these workers in a number of ways. Make sure existing controls such as social distancing, good hygiene, cleaning, ventilation, supervision etc. are applied stringently.

Employers can support such individuals and others in their workforces by following these steps:

  • Offer alternative duties or changes working patterns temporarily.
  • Accommodate home working where possible.
  • Emphasise the importance of individual and wider workforce engagement to ensure controls are followed thoroughly.
  • Hold individual discussions with employees around their particular concerns.
  • Discuss the risk management measures you have put in place to minimise transmission to keep them and others
  • Explain the controls you will or already have put in place to protect them and other workers.

If you have any further queries regarding the safety of your staff as we face a second wave of coronavirus, please contact Safe Team: Ireland: +353 1 695 0749 UK: +44 2871 271882.





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