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Current Health and Safety Industry Trends

New Guidance Released for Managing Home Workers

As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for those who work from home as you do for all other employees who may work from the workplace. In most cases, the dangers to home workers are low, and the precautions you should take to prevent them are a lot simpler.

You should discuss your employees' arrangements with them, as not everyone is suited to work from home due to a number of factors. Some employees may not have an appropriate place to work, for example, or may lack fundamental work equipment like a desk and chair. 

Alternatively, they may prefer to come into the workplace for a number of reasons such as for socialisation, well-being and mental health reasons. When carrying out a risk assessment for home workers, you should consider aspects such as their ability and accessibility to working with display screen equipment, their workspace and environment, their mental health, and their stress level. 

Measures for Vaccinated Workers

People working in a Care Quality Commission-registered adult care home are required to have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine before entering the facility beginning 11 November 11 2021, unless they have a medical certificate with a stated medical reason that goes against this. However, residents and visitors to the premises are not required to have two doses of the vaccine.

The government has confirmed that proposed regulations for health and social care employers in England will be implemented beginning in the spring of 2022. Unless the employees are exempt, such employers must make sure that all staff, including frontline health workers, are fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Volunteers who have up-close, in-person contact with clients must provide clear proof that they have been fully vaccinated against the virus in order to be positioned within the sector.

Measures for Employees Who Can’t Be Vaccinated

Some people may be recommended not to get the COVID vaccination because of a medical condition or allergen reasons, as they may be allergic to components of the vaccine. Individuals who refuse the vaccine may be protected under the disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

Employers should take different health and safety precautions for employees who have a legitimate medical justification that prevents vaccination, such as strengthening their coronavirus risk management, allowing remote working where possible, or considering a different role. Medical advice might well be required with the employee's permission in some instances.

Health Secretary Proposals for Carbon Monoxide Alarms to Be Fitted

On November 23rd, Housing Minister Eddie announced that all housing providers will now be obliged by law to install smoke alarms in all social housing, as well as declaring that all social and private rented buildings that have fixed appliances within them have carbon monoxide detector alarms installed. The regulations also require landlords and housing providers in the social and private rented sectors to replace or restore smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as soon as they are informed that they are defective.

These regulations have been planned and enforced with the aim to make individuals living in social housing feel safer and less vulnerable in their homes. The new requirements for installing and maintaining alarms will be adopted by property owners. Advice on where to install alarms and ensuring alarms meet required specifications will also be updated.

Ventilation in the Workplace for COVID-19

Employers are required by law to provide a sufficient supply of fresh air in the form of ventilation in all enclosed areas of the workplace. Someone infected with COVID-19 breathes out small particles of the virus every time they breathe, and good ventilation reduces the amount of virus that is in the air, thereby having adequate ventilation in enclosed areas of the workplace lowers the risk of inhaling and catching the virus if anyone were to have it.

You can improve both your natural and artificial/mechanical ventilation to improve the quality of the overall ventilation within the workplace. Your natural ventilation can be simply improved by opening windows within the premises full or partially - the more your window is open, the more ventilated the space will be. You can also think about opening air vents and doors to increase ventilation within the workspace.

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