Covid-19 risk assessments

‘I am a BAME CSP member. What should a Covid-19 risk assessment look like?’ 

Sian Caulfield is the CSP’s national officer for equality and diversity

In 2020, Public Health England confirmed that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups are twice as likely to die from Covid-19, with over 60% of NHS workers who have died from the virus being from a BAME background. 

Evidence shows that Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on people from a BAME background.  

Your employer has a moral and statutory duty of care to protect and preserve employees’ health and safety. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect workers and others from Covid-19, including undertaking a Covid-19 risk assessment.  

Within NHS England, 9.7% of the physiotherapy workforce identify as non-white.  

Risk assessments of BAME colleagues can come with real challenges. This includes addressing the systemic discrimination within the NHS, identified by the Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES). Experiences of discrimination and racism can make it more difficult for BAME colleagues to be involved in and raise concerns about the processes and furthermore, to have a voice within their organisation.  

Your employer should work with you to: 

  • Identify what work activity or environments might cause transmission of the virus  
  • Decide how likely it is that you could be exposed to the virus  
  • Act to remove the activity or environment that could cause transmission of the virus. Where this isn’t possible, act to control the risk of transmission 
  • Consider the impact on the physical and psychological health of BAME colleagues  
  • Identify any existing underlying health conditions that may increase risk of contracting the virus  
  • If you are a manager – your organisation should support line managers to have sensitive conversations with BAME staff. 

    Your CSP health and safety reps, local partnership forums and BAME staff networks can play an invaluable role in this process. They can provide support to you and your organisation through sharing their knowledge and expertise, which should be used when undertaking risk assessments.

    • Sian Caulfield is the CSP’s national officer for equality and diversity 

    To find out who your local health and safety rep is, call the CSP Enquiries team on 0207 306 6666 or email 


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