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What is the over-riding statutory duty for employers to ensure the health and safety of employees?

It is worth pointing out that, despite all the guidance, survey results and other advice about managing Covid-19 H&S risk in the workplace, the law has not been changed. None of the guidance is codified by regulation/legislation, which means that you are managing this risk in the context of existing H&S law.

In very simple terms, HASWA74 requires employers to take “all reasonably practicable steps” to ensure the health and safety of its employees (and anyone else affected by your business).

“Reasonably practicable” means to balance risk reduction against the time, money and effort required. If measures are grossly disproportionate, you wouldn’t be expected to take them, but there is a strong presumption in favour of taking any steps which will protect workers.

As part of managing the health and safety of your people, you must control the risks in your workplaces. To do this, look for what might cause harm to people while they work and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. This related duty under MHSWR is to ensure you undertake a “suitable and sufficient assessment of risks.”