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June 4th, 2020:

Advice on return to work in FE – Risk assessments

Dear Colleagues

We know that partial  return to the workplace is now one of the biggest issues you are facing. We recently sent you the UCU 5 step approach and we  copied you into the letter that had been sent to all Principals and CEOs by the Head of FE.

Colleges in the main are sticking to the 15th June as being the very earliest start date for some vulnerable learners and for some students requiring to complete practical work associated with  licence to practice qualifications . We should stress that the numbers of students and staff  returning to college premises should be kept to absolute minimums and only happen where we are persuaded that this is essential and safe  . We anticipate that most students and staff  will continue to learn and work  from home .

However,  even this partial return requires thorough risk assessments to be carried out by employers which clearly identify  Hazards and Control measures.

To support branches in monitoring the risk assessments carried out by your employer please find attached UCU guidance published today . This advice should allow you to compare the risk assessments produced by your employer with the considerations identified by the union and to challenge the employer where their Risk assessments fall short.  There is also a set of general questions that you should ask the employer which are set out at the end of the document .

It is absolutely essential that we do not allow members to return to any  workplace based on inadequate risk assessments so please use the attached as your template .

As always contact your regional officials for any further advice  you may need

Keep safe and well

Nick, Catriona and Philippa