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Employers must not let guard down as Covid restrictions are eased, says Unison

Industrial reporter @TrinderMatt

EMPLOYERS must not let their guard down as coronavirus restrictions are eased across Britain, Unison has warned.

The public-sector union is reminding bosses that they must continue to comply with their duty to reduce risks for workers as most pandemic-related rules are set to be axed or relaxed imminently.

Health and safety legislation requires management to regularly review risk assessments, consult with union health and safety representatives and introduce additional measures if needed.

The 1992 Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations also stipulate that offices, shops and factories must be clean and have sufficient fresh air and space, which are essential virus mitigation measures, Unison stressed.

Social distancing is set to end in Scotland from Monday, while in England, mandatory mask-wearing and Covid-19 passes to gain entry to larger venues will no longer be needed from Thursday. 

In Wales, limits on the number of people allowed to meet outdoors were scrapped today, ahead of nightclubs reopening next Friday. 

Unison’s Kim Sunley said: “Regardless of what Covid laws and guidance are in place, employers still have a duty to identify and reduce risks to the health and safety of employees.

“Everyone wants Covid to be over, but living — and, more importantly, working — alongside it will still require a number of preventative measures to be in place, including protecting those who may be more at risk of infection.

“In the words of Dr Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus], director general of the World Health Organisation, ‘no country can boost its way out of the pandemic.’

“While vaccination is really important, it should not be at the cost of all other workplace protections.”

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