COVID-19 Employee Health Risk Assessments
Returning to Work after the COVID-19 Lockdown
Supporting your employees back to work after the March 2021 lockdown ends, results in four different outcomes in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19):
- For those now working at home, the challenge is returning to the workplace.
- For those on furlough, the challenge is returning to work.
- For those who have continued employment on work premises, it’s maintaining work ability and adapting to the ‘new normal’.
- For those ‘shielding’, it’s maintaining existing and starting to plan new work arrangements from the end of March 2021, when current Government guidance will be revised.
There may be pre-existing or new health issues that have emerged since leaving work, or difficulties in recovering from COVID-19. These employees may all benefit from OH Support to ensure a successful return to work and to maintain work ability.
Do not forget that work task adjustments which had been required before lockdown should be reviewed to ensure they are still up to date.
The first step in supporting work ability is to recognise struggling workers. Line managers are key to identification and to making things happen. A lot can be done in the workplace to maintain work ability in the face of illness.
- Recognise when a colleague is struggling to cope with symptoms or injury
- Respond to anyone who reports symptoms or is off work
- Evaluate work ability (i.e. how they are coping with work and physical or health problems)
- Identify any obstacles to staying at work or getting back to work
- Agree an individual return to work plan that sets out job modifications to overcome identified obstacles
- Help people build up work gradually as they recover
- Review progress.
The Society of Occupational Medicine has collated a number of helpful toolkits for employers to support their teams in Returning to the Workplace after the COVID-19 Lockdown .
Employee COVID Health Risk Assessments
For clinically vulnerable employees, there is a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, but less so than in the group of clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who are likely to be ‘shielding’. These employees should be especially careful with hand hygiene, minimise contact with others and be careful to follow strict 2m distancing in the workplace.
Providing reassurance to staff is key to them remaining at work feeling safe and secure when there are existing health problems. A COVID health risk assessment provided with the support of Medwyn Occupational Health can support this process.
We work with employers to offer Tier 1 and Tier 2 health risk assessments, taking into account the impact of social, demographic and health factors on each individual. Utilising the University of Oxford QRisk Calculator launched on 16 February, we are now able to provide employers with even more robust evidence based guidance on how to safely support employees in the workplace in the context of their job risk.
- Meeting the Impact of Home Learning on Parents and Employers
- Home Working and Display Screen Equipment (DSE) during COVID-19 Factsheet
- Returning to the workplace after the COVID-19 lockdown
- Sustaining Work-Relevant Mental Health Post COVID-19 Toolkit
- Long COVID booklet for people who have signs and symptoms that continue or develop after acute COVID-19
- HSE Talking Toolkit: Preventing work-related stress