TUC flags ‘Living with Covid’ risk for workers

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has penned a letter to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, highlighting the risk posed to workers’ safety due to the “confusion” of the “Living with Covid” plan.

According to the plan, from 1 April employers are no longer have to “explicitly consider Covid-19 in their risk assessments”.

However, the trade union has warned that the change would contradict statutory duties employers have to conduct general health and safety assessments.

READ MORE: ‘Structural racism in action’ within retail, TUC warns

The TUC cited the management of health and safety at work regulations, claiming employers should “make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work”.

As a result, the TUC said the regulation requires any health risk to be incorporated into risk assessment, including Covid-19, as there are long-term risks such as developing long Covid.

The letter urges Kwarteng to ensure employers continue to comply with existing legislation and that trade unions are consulted when employers change risk management.

“Ministers are sowing dangerous confusion on Covid safety at work. Longstanding rules on workplace safety clearly indicate that employers should consider Covid risks, but the government has sent out a conflicting message,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said.

“We want ministers to clear up this confusion by advising employers that they must still consider Covid-19 in workplace risk assessments.”

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