Employers have a legal duty to protect workers from harm. Steps should be taken to ensure each workplace is COVID secure for all who enter it. As part of an employer’s duty, they must consider the risk to those who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus and put controls in place to reduce that risk.
A risk assessment should take place to consider the risk factors and safe systems of work for the individual. The risk assessment could also explore wider concerns such as traveling to work using public transport or family members who are also at higher risk. Where increased risks are identified, all practical adjustments to mitigate the risks should be considered and put in place to protect keep staff safe.
Public Health England have reported that some groups of people may be at more risk of being infected and/or an adverse outcome if infected. Every employer has a duty to assess the risk to staff and make extra provision for those who are deemed vulnerable.
If you have concerns that you are at higher risk of adverse reaction to COVID-19 please alert your manager and ask for an individual risk assessment to be carried out. If you need support to do this, please contact the branch for help and advice.
Coventry City Council and Maintained Schools members:
The Local Authority has drafted a Vulnerable Employee Risk (VERA) to be used to safeguard its employees at higher risk of serious reactions to COVID-19. The VERA may also be applied by any publicly funded school in Coventry as a tool to safeguard their staff.
The Local Government Association has advised that clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) employees on NJC terms and conditions should only return to workplaces where strict social distancing is applied.
As the government guidance does not require strict social distancing in schools UNISON advises that for CEV employees, or those living with others who are CEV, working at home is the safest option.
Ultimately regardless of who your employer is, or whether they use the Local Authority VERA, they should be addressing the particular concerns of staff. If you do not believe your employer is supporting you in this way please contact us urgently.