Returning to the Workplace: Health & Safety Guidance for Employers
It is currently anticipated that we will see some of the restrictions on businesses being relaxed over the coming months with employees returning to the workplace where possible. The UK Government has already confirmed that those working in the construction and manufacturing industries in England and Wales can return to work if the required health and safety measures are in place. Whilst the Northern Ireland Executive has now set out a roadmap for the easing of restrictions, it is not yet clear when the various stages will be implemented. Employers need to keep abreast of all government and industry guidance to ensure that they are adhering to their obligations to employees returning to the workplace following relaxation of lockdown measures.
The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 places a duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all of its employees. Employees also have a duty to their employer and colleagues to follow instructions regarding safe working practices. Every business operating within each of the sectors, be it in manufacturing, retail, construction or hospitality will have their own individual issues to consider. We set out a number of general points that should be considered by all employers but is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list.
While great care has been taken in the preparation of the content of this article, it does not purport to be a comprehensive statement of the relevant law and full professional advice should be taken before any action is taken in reliance on any item covered.