Health and Safety: Returning to work after lockdown

As UK lockdown eases further, more and more of our members will be asked to return to the workplace.

Your employer has a legal obligation to protect you from risk while you are at work.  If they are asking you to work outside the home, they should complete a Covid-19 risk assessment, identifying risks and detailing the specific steps they will take to reduce these risks.  This TUC step-by-step guide to making sure that your return to work is safe is a very useful tool in making sure that your employer has met all their legal obligations.

The leaflets available for download at the bottom of the page provide further guidance for members about risk assessments and working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The UNISON website is regularly updated with the latest guidance, including specific advice relating to different sectors.  There is also guidance on social distancing and hygiene in the workplace. If you can’t find the advice you need, or you are concerned that your employer is not following the guidance, please contact us so that we can ask a caseworker to advise you.


Health and safety reps

The best way to make sure that your employer adheres to health and safety law is to elect a health and safety representative in your workplace.  A safety rep will be able to check that your employer’s risk assessment meets requirements, as well as addressing any safety concerns that you have.   UNISON will provide full training to elected safety reps and UNISON Essex branch will support and advise whenever we’re needed.

If you don’t have a safety rep in your workplace at the moment, it’s worth discussing with other UNISON members in your workplace to see who is willing to put themselves forward as a rep.  They will need to be nominated by two UNISON members in the workplace, and then there will be a two-week nomination period.  After this, the rep can begin their training.  All training is currently taking place online so it can be completed from the comfort of home or in your workplace.

You can read more about becoming a safety rep on the UNISON national website.