The World Health Organisation has declared that the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic in China now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern – at the time of publishing it has spread to 28 countries so far and the number of people affected has surpassed the SARS epidemic’s total.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 requires businesses to mitigate health and safety risks and protect their workers from them, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Employers should consider what extra measures you take to protect your employees in a pandemic, and put appropriate plans in place as it may affect your ability to plan your business.
Coronavirus – consider the following:
- How you will maintain your essential services or activities with high numbers of staff absence over an extended period.
- What essential goods and services you rely on and how you will manage any disruptions to supply.
- How you can implement alternative work practices in your workplace (for example, social distancing measures, remote working capability).
- What services will need additional support to meet a surge in demand (for example, IT support services).
- How you can protect your workers and reduce the risk of spread of the pandemic influenza virus in your workplace.
The Ministry of Health is publishing regular updates in regards to symptoms and health advice here.
If you have a pandemic plan already, it is time to dust it off and review?
Or if you would like assistance with this, please contact us.