Together with Kennedys (one of our appointed providers) we have summarised what employers need to consider with regards to Covid-19, especially if they are travelling abroad.
Responsibilities for staff at home and abroad
Health & Safety at Work Act etc. 1974
- All employers have to ensure the safety of staff and others affected by its business so far as it is reasonably practicable.
- Those in your office tasked with health and safety responsibility must work with the Board to minimise risk to staff and to protect their business by compliance with the law
Your duty as an employer
- Employers have a non-delegable duty to provide a safe system and safe place of work for employees.
- Duty of care to ensure as far as possible employees’ health and safety and welfare whilst at work.
- Start off with a risk assessment to spot possible health and safety hazards
- Appoint a competent person with health and safety responsibilities.
- Enforced by The Health and Safety Executive.
The Safety Of Employees On International Postings
- The safest and most suitable form of travel to a country;
- Assess the parameters of the employees role;
- Establish the destinations own health and safety cultures and laws;
- Implement policies and procedures that are consistent across the organisation (to avoid confusion for those working between jurisdictions);
- Determine who is responsible for the employees’ safety at their work location;
- Communicate the above to employees and H & S representatives in the location.
- Safety Management Decisions made and devised in the UK which apply to employees and overseas postings will be subject to scrutiny under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
- You should approach employees working overseas in the same safe careful way as those who work in the UK
- Do you implement the same standards of health and safety abroad as you do in the UK?
- Can you show you have done all that is reasonably practicable to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your employees across the world?
- HSE have recruited more inspectors.
- £114 million for inspections and compliance work.
- 3-stage process:
- Call to the business to check what control measures they have in place
- Progression to a HSE Visitor Officer for further investigation (trigger incurring of fees for intervention) if not satisfied progression to the enforcement stage;
- Issue improvement or prohibition notices………Prosecution
- How are you protecting staff against Covid-19 in overseas postings?
- How do you keep up-to-date with local policies and procedures?
- Have you prepared for a call from the HSE to assess your policies and procedure in relation to protecting UK employees and workers at risk from exposure and contracting Covid-19.
- Ensure your risk assessments extend to those travelling or working overseas.
Keep a paper trail showing who completed risk assessments for overseas posted employees.
- Evidence that you have implemented control measures to protect workers abroad.
- Demonstrate that you are checking FC&DO / Gov.UK guidance.
- Keep catalogue of changes to guidance.
- Track changes to operating procedure and policy.
- Ensure you can evidence the changes in Government advice with your particular risk assessments policies and procedure.
- Do the same for local safety regulations and guidance.
- Implement additional measures that go above and beyond UK policies.
- Plan for recalling staff if FC&DO guidance changes as regards specific countries.
- Beware of employees feeling under pressure or duress to work/put themselves at risk in resort.
- Implement the appropriate control measures to manage employees’ exposure to Covid-19.
- Accurate records of considerations and decisions made.
- Are all your staff resident or seasonal?
- UK or local contracts?
- Not just office considerations…staff accommodation, equipment, transport?
- What are the cleaning requirements/hygiene requirements locally?
- Understand the requirements locally around PPE masks etc.?
- Welfare issues for those staff who are remote without local support.
Criminal and Civil Liability
- Beware liability for civil claims brought by employees put at risk. Not protected or feel pressurised.
- It is not just HSE enforcement, from a regulatory perspective but the impact is civil claims.
In the event of a pandemic outbreak such as Covid the duty necessitates:
- The keeping of records for those employees who have contracted the virus;
- The amount of time they have been away from work;
- Any other particular features.
As part of your Covid risk assessment you should:
- Look for the hazards;
- Decide who might be harmed and how;
- Evaluate the risk and decide whether your precautions taken are
- adequate or whether more should be done;
- Record your findings;
- Review your assessment and revise it if necessary.
Consider vulnerable employees, those with underlying health conditions or those for whom the consequences of contracting Coronavirus may be severe. Such as pregnant workers, those on a particular at risk group.
Monitor the numbers of staff affected by the pandemic on a day-to-day basis in order to identify the trigger levels for any new contingency plan.
Checklist should include:
- Adequate health surveillance, including identification of vulnerable individuals;
- Provision of PPE;
- Assessment and management of workloads in the anticipation of reductions and available staff through sickness/self-isolation;
- The health and safety of homeworkers;
- Risks associated with individuals covering for missing colleagues;
- Risks associated with those working in different areas overseas.
- Overwork leading to psychological injury.
- Overwork leading to physical injury.
- Working from home risks.
- Vicarious liability.
- Covid claim ‘Hubbs’ No Win, No Fee Solicitors