Widespread workforce vaccination isn’t sufficient to allow for the removal of other Covid safety measures in workplaces.
Widespread workforce vaccination is not yet a sufficient control to allow for the removal of other Covid safety measures in workplaces, a body representing worker health protection professionals has warned.
The British Occupational Hygiene Society, a scientific charity and the chartered society for industrial hygiene specialists, said while lockdown restrictions have been in place, workplaces have been the frontline for the control of the spread of the pandemic. It says while vaccination is likely to have a significant impact on workplace transmission, “the Society is warning that simply relying on vaccination, at least in coming months, would be a risky strategy for employers and may contribute to outbreaks, undermine the public health benefits of the vaccine programme, or even land the employer in hot water legally.”
BOHS CEO, Professor Kevin Bampton, said: “We are greatly looking forward to seeing the end of additional Covid measures, but it’s probably too early to be relaxing them, despite the general easing of restrictions in society.” He added: “In social life, people can select the risks they wish to be exposed to, but in the workplace, it remains the responsibility of employers to ensure those risks are managed.” He said: “Suppressing the risk of asymptomatic infection is not only important to protect workers themselves, but also to reduce the amount of virus in circulation and the potential breeding grounds for new variants. The vaccine promises light at the end of the tunnel, but we are not out of it yet.”
One of the key points is the ongoing duty of care by employers to manage the covid risks faced by employees. Whilst vaccination offers a level of protection, it would be foolish for employers to become complacent. Maintaining covid-secure measures is a health and safety requirement that shows no sign of going away.
Taking a holistic approach to employee covid safety includes the now familiar workplace arrangements such as sanitisation, social distancing, and PPE where necessary. Even more crucially, visibility in real time of employees’ covid and vaccination status is essential to protect vulnerable workers and their families. Riskex’s award-winning Safe2day application easily helps managers keep track of where the risks are. Click here to find out how we can help:
For the full British Occupational Hygiene Society report, click here: