11 February 2022

Risk assessments are vital before return to workplaces

The UK Civil Service is increasingly trying to push people back into the workplace, regardless of personal circumstances.  

In a recent exchange of documents, the civil service now says ‘only in exceptional circumstances’ should people continue to home-work. We reject that position as it is clear that many people have valid reasons in continuing to work from home, be it on the grounds of health or the domestic situation. 

Individual circumstances must be taken into account. That is why a key union demand on the UK Civil Service has been that individual assessments must be conducted before anyone can return to the workplace. These must not only look at health risks but also take in account domestic circumstances.

While agreeing in principle that such assessments should take place, we need to ensure that the civil service carries them out in practice. Our advice therefore to all members is to ask for such assessment before agreeing any return. 

While the UK government likes to pretend that we are returning to so-called normal, the union does not believe that this is the case. Covid has not gone away and certainly the notion of people working 5 days a week from the office has now been blown away.

Therefore, the union is seeking that all staff in the areas where we organise should have the opportunity of being able to flexibly work from home whenever needed.