World Health & Safety at Work Day – 28 April 2021

Since 2003, the International Labour Organisation has been observing The World Day for Health and Safety at Work in its annual campaign to promote safe places to work. This international campaign promotes the prevention of accidents and diseases at work.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Health and Safety at Work Day could not be more pertinent than it is this year especially now that in the UK the Prime Minister has announced his roadmap for the easing of the lockdown. Now more than ever, we have learnt that it is vitally important to have a safe system of working in order to prevent accidents and of course, topically, the spread of viruses, diseases and infections.

With the current lockdown easing many employers will be looking to welcome back their employees to the workplace. Whilst many may celebrate the end of remote video calls and finally to see their colleagues face-to-face, some employees may be more reluctant to return to work unless it is safe to do so.

Under s.2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty, as far as reasonably practicable, to take steps to ensure the safety of their employees at work. Moreover, there is an implied term in a contract of employment that an employer has a duty to take reasonable care to look after their employees’ health and safety.

If a workplace is unsafe, an employer may be in fundamental breach of his/her duties. If an employee is concerned that they are not working in a safe workplace our employment team would be happy to discuss such concerns.

It is clear that the law requires employers to take positive steps to ensure the safety of their employees at work. In light of the pandemic, employers should look at the Government’s workplace guidance to ensure that they are doing all they can to ensure the safety of their employees. If, as an employer, you are unclear on your duty or are perhaps anxious about how to make your workplace COVID-19 safe, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team. Of course, a safe workplace does not just revolve around making the workplace COVID-19 safe; employers are bound by this duty regardless of the pandemic.