Risk Assessment and COVID-19

From Friday 1 April there is no longer a legal requirement to have a separate and specific COVID-19 risk assessment.

The HSE no longer expects businesses to consider COVID-19 in their risk assessment or to have specific measures in place. Employers may still choose to continue to cover COVID-19 in their risk assessments.  In that regard, work related COVID-19 hazards can be included in general or topic specific risk assessments (see below for examples).

It is appropriate to include a line item on COVID-19 in general risk assessments.  This can simply recognise the current level of the University's Business Continuity Planning framework. The general risk assessment can also identify other topic specific risk assessments that might be required.

Departments should have records of changes made to their ventilation systems since the start of the pandemic. This could be in the form of a register, summary documents, or annotated layout drawings. If poorly ventilated spaces are identified, then this information needs amending. It will also need updating if changes are made to the mechanical ventilation, whilst assessing the impact this has on the supply of fresh air.

There is no longer a need for a separate and specific COVID-19 travel risk assessment. The University has a standard template for travel and fieldwork risk assessment. This now incorporates basic COVID considerations. This assessment should be used to assess travel to areas where local requirements or data indicates a significant COVID-19 health risk. This is the same as other health related risks when travelling overseas.  Further information is available on our Overseas Travel and Fieldwork site.

Events of any size are permitted. This includes non-educational events such as festivals, public events in museums and public lectures. Any specific event risk assessment should take into account the steps that can minimise the risk of COVID-19.  More information is available on the University Events pages.

Any research directly relating to COVID-19 must be assessed in line with the University’s Biorisk Management policy statement.  Any other work related activity that might increase the risk of transmission from known infected material or subjects must also be assessed, as per the relevant health and safety policy statement.

First aid needs assessments, fire risk assessment or any other emergency response assessment must be continually assessed.  The impact of individuals either being absent from work due to COVID-19 or simply because of changes in work patterns must be taken into account.