“Don’t let your guard down”, IOSH urges businesses

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The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is calling on businesses to stay vigilant to ensure Covid-19 doesn’t spread rapidly through workplaces.

It comes as the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warns that the epidemic is entering a ‘period of uncertainty’ with rapidly altering patterns of behaviour associated with schools reopening and more people returning to workplaces.

The scientists predict that the future trajectory is ‘unlikely’ to reach the peak of the January 2021 wave, but that hospital admissions could still rise further. September and October will show the extent of the impact of increased mixing over the early Autumn, they say.

“Although the epidemic appears to have stayed relatively stable in the last six weeks, contact networks are likely to change in the coming weeks, increasing transmission,” say SAGE minutes published on 14 September.

Employers can help curb the rise in infections by modifying working patterns to limit numbers in the workplace at one time. Photograph: iStock

IOSH says therefore employers must ensure they continue to have robust measures in place to prevent transmission, adding that now is a good time to review their effectiveness.

“This virus hasn’t gone away, with many thousands being infected daily in the UK alone and many of these cases leading to people becoming seriously ill,” said Ruth Wilkinson, IOSH’s Head of Health and Safety.

“Now is not a time to be complacent so we are urging businesses to not let their guard down, as Covid-19 remains a hazard within the workplace. As part of risk assessment processes, they need to ensure Covid-19 risks are identified, control measures are in place, and they are actively monitored and reviewed to ensure they remain effective.”

Coronavirus was the third leading cause of death in England in August, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It marks a big jump from July, when it was the ninth leading cause of death.


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