COVID-19 – Do I need to complete a risk assessment for employees returning to work?

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Following the announcement that businesses in certain sectors may begin to reopen their doors and see their employees return to work, the Government has provided some guidance for employers to ensure such a move can be carried out safely.

One of the key requirements highlighted is the legal duty for all employers to conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment before making the request for any employee to return to the workplace.

It is also worth noting, however, that a return to the workplace is not mandatory at this stage, and the Government currently remains firm on the advice previously issued that anyone who can work from home should continue to work from home.


What else does the guidance say?

Though it is not yet a legal requirement, the Government guidance also advises that employers with over 50 members of staff in their employ should publish the results of their risk assessment online. This action is also encouraged for those with smaller teams.

The results of your risk assessment will also need to be made readily available to all staff members to provide staff with details of any changes to the way they are expected to work, prior to protective measures being implemented to ensure safety in the workplace.


What should I publish?

The guidance advises that employers need only publish the results of the risk assessment, and does not necessitate for the publication of any documentation which has been produced at any point during the risk assessment process. You should also consider publishing the practical elements of your results, such as the actions you will be taking to minimise the risks that have been identified, and any other advice you intend to issue to your staff as part of the protective measures being put into place.


A step-by-step process to ensure a safe return to work

  • Firstly, you should complete a detailed risk assessment, considering and identifying all risks that may be posed to employees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your assessment should result in an outline of the practical measures you can put into place to reduce those risks and increase the safety of the workplace.
  • Try to find a way to detail your findings and make them accessible to all of your employees. You should make findings and guidance clear, to-the-point and as user-friendly as possible.
  • Prepare the results for publication online, focussing on the steps you intend to take in order to tackle and control the risks that have been identified in your assessment.
  • Consider where you will make this information accessible on your website, and try to upload it as soon as possible.


For further advice relating to HR during the Coronavirus pandemic, please get in touch and talk through your requirements/queries with a member of our dedicated HR department on 01282 433241.