2 days ago
Duty to provide a safe system of work
With today expected to see the announcement of the end of all COVID restrictions, we highlight to employers the risk of failing to provide a safe system of work.
It is a duty imposed upon all employers to look out for the health and safety of their employees, and a contractual duty, imposed into every contract, that the employer will provide a safe system of work. This is not going to be as easy as it first looks now that isolation for those actually with the virus is no longer mandatory. In fact, with free lateral flow tests to also end, it is a safe assumption that someone with COVID but who doesn’t know it, will be attending work at some time.
It is therefore now, with the easing of restrictions, that employers need to maintain such measures of protection as they already have in place. Should an employer scrap all protective measures when the government ends restrictions, and a vulnerable employee refuses to come to work, then that employer will be in some difficulty. Steps taken to protect employees are judged by the time and expense they take to introduce. Given that most steps are already introduced, in the event of a dispute it will be very difficult to argue that it was too expensive to keep measures in place to protect employees.
Dismissals, or resignations, caused by health and safety issues being raised, carry unlimited damages and don’t require two years’ service to bring a claim.