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Covid-19 UK government guidance

On Friday 1 April, the UK government changed its approach to Covid-19 guidance, removing much of the specific advice that was previously available. This decision was in line with the government’s ‘living with Covid’ strategy (England) which removes most legal restrictions related to the pandemic and introduces more general public health guidance. Please refer to the relevant public health guidance for the country you are working in England, Scotland and Wales.

Covid-19 guidance is now brought into general guidance for employers under the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Although the HSE will no longer require Covid-19 control measures, employers must continue to consult workers and their representatives on any changes they make that might affect health and safety. See this guidance on consulting and involving your workers.

 

There is also guidance on the circumstances of when you should make a report under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) and more detailed guidance for people deemed to be at risk. (UK)

 

The government has produced advice about living safely with respiratory diseases which includes recommendations about when to go to work or not, but these are in cases where people have symptoms. There is also specific guidance on ventilation. (England)

 

While employers will welcome the greater self-determination that this brings, many will still have questions on what this means for them in terms of their Covid-19 liability and duty of care. There remains a huge question mark over the handling of the risks to vulnerable employees. The BCC has called for further specific guidance or FAQs for businesses.

 

More broadly, we have called consistently for the maintenance of free lateral flow tests (or for tests to be publicly procured and available at cost price) so that businesses can help employees manage problems around asymptomatic transmission. We will continue to press the UK government to issue more detailed guidance and provide free or low-cost testing. Please share theses details with your members as relevant and see updated guidance on our Coronavirus Hub. Contact the BCC Policy team with any queries.