28 February 2022

Why risk assessments are important

All staff should have a risk assessment as part of the post-Covid return to the workplace process.

With the end of Covid restrictions, increasing pressure is being put on staff to return to their workplaces, after working from home throughout the pandemic. We have already met with the Cabinet Office to explain our position on returning to workplaces and what measures should be put in place before a mass return to work.  We will be meeting with them again this week.

While many staff are content to return to their workplace, at least for part of the time, there are many people who are unable to return now or at least until certain provisions are put in place. This might be due to health or caring issues, for example childcare, the need for reasonable adjustments, work related stress or the symptoms of long Covid.

We want to ensure that those workers are not forced back into workplaces and put into a more hazardous position than working from home. That is why risk assessments are vital.

In a recent answer to a parliamentary question, the Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis said he expects all managers in the civil service to conduct a risk assessment for returning staff, but we know that in many areas this is not happening. We are therefore raising the same demand for assessments in all departments.

If your manager hasn't given you such an assessment, and you have a particular reason why you cannot return now or until a particular time, then ask your manager to carry one out. Speak to your union rep to let them know what’s happening and ask them for help arranging the risk assessment if necessary.

Not yet a PCS member? Join online today.