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Return to work risk assessment

Use this return to work risk assessment to structure and record a risk assessment for staff returning to work in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees and must assess and manage the risks that staff will face when returning to work, especially in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19). This document demonstrates compliance with the legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of staff members when working.

Use this return to work risk assessment:

  • when employees are due to return to a place of work after the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown

  • to identify the control measures that should be put in place to protect employees and others from the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

  • where the place of work is an office

  • if the property is in England or Wales

This return to work risk assessment covers:

  • what the risk is

  • who is at risk

  • what steps have already been taken to minimise the risk

  • what additional steps will be taken to minimise the risk

  • who will implement these changes and by when

A return to work risk assessment is a form that demonstrates compliance with the legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of staff members, especially the threats posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Employers are under a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their staff. Employers need to assess any risks created or posed in the course of their business, this includes the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Measures of avoiding or mitigating any risks should be identified and implemented in accordance with health and safety laws. The main purpose of this return to work risk assessment is to reduce risk and to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the premises or is in the immediate vicinity.

Any businesses which employ five or more workers must record the main points of their return to work risk assessment.

For more information read Employee health and safety in the workplace during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Workplace risk assessments are a legal requirement for employers and self-employed individuals. Every employer and self-employed person is required to make an assessment of the health and safety risks arising out of their work. If an employer fails to comply with health and safety requirements, there can be serious consequences - both for organisations and individuals. Sanctions include fines, disqualification and imprisonment.

To conduct a return to work risk assessment you must think about how  Coronavirus (COVID-19) might cause harm to people, decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent harm and which additional steps you could take to further prevent harm. This process is known as risk assessment and is normally implemented based on each individual's circumstances and should be made visible to all of your employees.

Once you have followed the step-by-step interview, you will be provided with a list of additional steps you may take to ensure the safety of your workforce. Read through the additional steps and tick any that are appropriate for your business and you wish to implement. You can then assign a person to action the ticked steps in order to implement them in the ‘Action & assignee’ column. Once a suggested step has been fully implemented, you should record a completion date in the ‘Date completed’ column.

Industry-specific guidance on working safely during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is available on the Government website. Please note that this guidance differs throughout the UK.

Ask a lawyer if:

  • you do not work in an office (eg if you run a construction business)

  • you are unsure how to conduct a return to work risk assessment

  • you are unsure about your obligations regarding health and safety in the workplace

  • you are based in Scotland

This return to work risk assessment is governed by the law of England and Wales.

Other names for Return to work risk assessment

COVID-19 risk assessment, Return to work after Coronavirus risk assessment, Coronavirus risk assessment.

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