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Industrial Health and Safety: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL2092, tabled on 15 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to produce guidance for employers, to accompany the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions on 19 July, about the health and safety of employees who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and therefore not protected by the COVID-19 vaccine.

Answered on

27 July 2021

Throughout the pandemic, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has encouraged businesses to manage risks in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in workplaces through the provision of detailed guidance. HSE published updated guidance on 19 July - Keeping workplaces safe as coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are removed (which can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/roadmap-further-guidance.htm) - to reflect changes as a result of the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England.

HSE does not consider vaccination of employees to be a workplace control. Businesses must control the risks and review and update their risk assessment to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by providing adequate ventilation, regular cleaning and frequent handwashing. Businesses can also continue to reduce the risk of transmission during the pandemic by taking measures to limit the number of people their workers are in contact with, and UK government guidance on working safely (which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19) provides further information and advice on these measures covering a range of different types of work.

Employers’ health and safety responsibilities include taking reasonable steps to protect all workers and others from the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in connection with their work activities. As these control measures apply to all workers, regardless of their relative levels of vulnerability or the potential outcome, there are no expectations of additional control measures for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) workers or the need for individual risk assessments.

HSE advises employers to have individual discussions with their CEV employees about any workplace concerns and understand what is in place to protect them. There is specific guidance on the HSE website to support employers to do this https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm