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Can I claim compensation if I catch COVID-19 at work?

As businesses slowly return to a new state of normality, many employees may be concerned about returning to work in light of COVID-19 and will want reassurance that their employers have implemented safety measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

The law for employers has not changed despite the pandemic, and an employee may be entitled to compensation if they contract COVID-19 because their employer has not done enough to ensure that their workplace is ‘COVID secure’.

Employers owe a legal duty to their employees to take reasonable care for their health and safety and they must take reasonable steps to do this. Specifically, employers must take steps to secure a safe system of work, safe premises, safe equipment, and competent (and a sufficient number of) staff.

In order to ensure that workplaces are ‘COVID secure’, employers must ensure that they carry out risk assessments. However, this alone is insufficient as they must also carefully implement measures recommended by the government to avoid being found at fault if an employee contracts the virus at work. In line with the rapidly changing government guidance, employers must review and update their risk assessments regularly to ensure that the most effective measures are in force.

Employers also have a duty to consider staff who are pregnant or have underlying health conditions. Potentially, vulnerable employees who contract COVID-19 in the workplace may also be able to claim if they are required to return to work when they are able to operate perfectly well from home.

In addition, employees who are exposed to health and safety risks must be provided with personal protective equipment (“PPE”) by their employers where other measures are inadequate to guard against the risk of virus transmission.

The types of PPE that must be provided to employees will differ according to the work undertaken and the sector to which the work relates. For example, the types of PPE used by healthcare professionals, including surgical face masks, gloves and aprons, are unlikely to be proportionate to work carried out by office or construction workers. Nevertheless, employees must be provided with PPE which protects them against the level of risk to their health in their workplace. Employers must get this right by undertaking regular risk assessments and acting accordingly in line with government guidance.

Other obvious measures that employers must take to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the workplace include ensuring social distancing of two metres between employees wherever possible, installing a sufficient number of hand washing facilities and sterilising and disinfecting all workstations, equipment and machinery.

If you believe you have contracted COVID-19 due to ineffective safety measures implemented at work, please call one of our experts on 0121 752 2818, or email info@personalinjurylawyerbirmingham.org.

By: Martha O’Toole
Title: Can I claim compensation if I catch COVID-19 at work?
Sourced From: www.tayloremmet.co.uk/blog/wordpress/can-i-claim-compensation-if-i-catch-covid-19-at-work/
Published Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2020 11:09:32 +0000