Safety alert: Industrial action contingency planning

With industrial action taking place across the UK over the coming weeks, your business may be affected even if you don’t have workers striking yourself.

This is because a number of the strikes involve the emergency services, as well as railway and transport operators.

People responsible for Health & Safety within a business have to ensure that their workplace has robust emergency procedures for when things go wrong – but have you made sure that you can implement them if key workers are unable to get to work or when emergency services may be delayed?


Who is affected?

The industrial action may directly or indirectly affect all businesses nationwide.

The issue is not only that emergency response may be delayed or unavailable, but with disruption to the rail service and schools, organisations could find themselves without sufficient trained first-aiders or fire-trained personnel on site.

Enforcing authorities such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) won’t see strike action as a mitigating factor in the event of injuries sustained in an emergency, so it’s really important that you review your Health & Safety measures.

That means reviewing and updating your risk assessments in relation to higher risk activities to determine whether they should still go ahead, and also taking a look at your first aid needs assessment, emergency plans, and other procedures to ensure you have enough cover for activities to continue.

Allowing workers to do their jobs from home may be a good solution for some businesses, however, you still need to make sure you’ve taken steps to ensure their welfare too, including providing equipment where reasonably practicable to do so, particularly if it becomes a regular occurrence.


What you need to do:

  • Review your risk assessments for high-risk activities – can they still go ahead safely, and do you need to add extra controls?
  • Review your business continuity plan and any other emergency plans, considering the possibility of delayed/no response from emergency services. We’ve got a template to help you with this here.
  • Carry out a personal emergency evacuation plan with employees who may require it. See our template here.
  • Review your first aid needs assessment to ensure you have enough cover. See our template here.
  • Consider your workers who are working from home, and remember to provide adequate support to them, too. It’s a good idea to get them to complete a Display Screen Assessment (DSE) template if this becomes a frequent arrangement and also to ask them to self-assess the risk of their own workstation. Here’s our homeworking self-assessment template and DSE assessment template to help you.
  • Finally, make sure you talk to and consult with your workforce and ensure everyone understands the scope and impact of the issue and has received and understood any changes to emergency procedures.


Got any questions?

Always please call our Health & Safety experts on your 24/7 advice line with any questions. Simply dial 0345 844 4848.


Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.