With the most recent official figures suggesting that two-thirds of people who have been shielding from the coronavirus in England are comfortable going back to work if protective measures are in place, the big challenge now for employers is having the right tools to manage the additional Duty of Care requirement. And all of this must be balanced with the confidentiality issues that surround personal medical information.
Addressing these challenges, Healix International, the health and security expert, has developed a new online tool – COVID Work Safe – which provides businesses with the tools to help identify employees who will be most at risk, as well as provide guidance on additional measures that can be implemented to keep them safe.
“As of 1 August, the government stated those who have been shielding can return to work as long as their workplace is COVID secure and adhering to the guidance available”, explained Adrian Hyzler, Chief Medical Officer, Healix International.
“To ensure all employees are safe, and additional mitigation measures will be taken where necessary, it is vital for businesses to identify individual employees who may be at increased risk due to medical/clinical vulnerabilities. However, confidentiality issues surrounding personal medical information make this a challenging task for employers needing to evaluate individual medical risks quickly and at scale.”
Through a confidential, user-friendly on-line medical questionnaire, COVID Work Safe helps businesses conduct thorough confidential medical risk assessments. The unique online solution analyses an employee’s relevant medical history – as supplied by them - to produce a consistent and robust assessment of their vulnerability to COVID-19.
“Our dedicated portal provides the employer with a report detailing the assessment outcomes for employees based on a traffic light system”, added Dr Adrian Hyzler.
“Green is where the employee is considered at low risk of developing serious illness if infection with COVID-19 should occur and is fit to return to the workplace. Amber indicates that the employee is at a moderately increased risk of becoming hospitalised if infected with COVID-19, and red indicates there is a high risk of hospitalisation and severe disease if COVID-19 infection occurs. Returning to the workplace is not advised for individuals who fall into the red category unless other risk assessments and measures have been taken.
“Most importantly, confidentiality is maintained. While the employer has access to the report detailing the outcomes for each employee via the portal, they will not have access to any of the medical information submitted by an employee in order for the report to be created.”
In addition, each assessment has a helpful set of guidelines to support the return to workplace process, giving businesses the confidence and peace of mind that they are implementing the correct measures to keep their staff safe. As well as fulfilling duty of care for vulnerable employees, COVID Work Safe will help reassure staff who may be nervous of returning after being furloughed or working from home for several months.
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