AS the government furlough scheme comes to an end and businesses continue to adapt following the last 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions, it is vital that we continue to mitigate workplace risks.

Over the past year and a half, many workers will have been on furlough or have been working from home.

Now the scheme is ending, more and more employees will be returning to the workplace.

People returning from furlough bring with them additional risk.

It is important that businesses take time to consider the risk of returning workers and ensure their employees are brought back safely. An induction programme could be worthwhile, similar to that of new starters.

This will ensure returning workers are familiar with the workplace and health and safety policies and processes.

Training should be reviewed and refreshers on subjects, such as manual handling, fire safety, for example should be provided if necessary. Insufficient training can lead to incidents in the workplace.

Risk assessment is just as important as it always has been. As employees return, it may be prudent to review and update risk assessments to ensure all hazards have been identified and the risk reduction measures in place are still sufficient.

The pandemic has caused anxiety and stress for many people, so returning workers may need more support than before. Stress and anxiety can affect people’s performance at work and lead to accidents. Businesses should consider offering mental health and well-being support to reduce this risk.

These are just some of the key things to consider. Much more can be done to ensure the safety of returning workers.

For more information get in touch at 01904 784141 or email

* John Goodacre is commercial director at PIB Insurance Brokers based in York, an independent insurance broker and part of PIB Group.