Manage your workplace risks to Covid-19 to avoid legal claims

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Haulage firms could be at risk of legal claims against them unless they manage the risk from Covid-19 to their employees and the public effectively.

With the reopening of certain depots, offices and other premises also comes the increased possibility that staff and visitors could be exposed to the coronavirus.

And unless companies manage the risks properly then there could be insurance claims against them.

Jonathan Backhouse, director at Backhouse Jones solicitors, said: ‘Claims in employment and public liability law are likely where people can demonstrate that they probably got Covid from you, your premises or your employment. That’s a big risk in the transport sector.’

Backhouse said hauliers had a defence if they can demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to avoid people contracting the disease. ‘You have to be documenting it, improving it and enforcing that drivers manage it properly,’ he said.

He also said Covid-19 is a reportable disease and may need to be reported in line with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

The HSE said a RIDDOR report should be made if a worker is diagnosed with it and there is reasonable evidence it was caught at work, or if a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to the disease. Failure to comply can result in an HSE investigation.

Backhouse added: ‘You don’t want to be subjected to one of those investigations.’

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