The National Executive are in constant contact with the employers, Government, ACAS, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, amongst others. As you are no doubt aware, things are certainly moving quickly now as we seek to react to changing circumstances and seek to update and clarify guidance to Members in these challenging times.

The most recent advice from the Health and Safety Executive includes guidance on Social Distancing in the Workplace and Working at Home

Social distancing in the workplace: The POA has asked for clarity as to the regulatory position in relation to social distancing – the updated position from HSE is as follows:

  • Social distancing and shielding are public health measures which have been introduced to reduce the spread of infection and protect those who are most vulnerable to infection because of an underlying health condition.
  • Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work.  The Health and Safety Executive considers that if an employer is following the relevant Public Health England guidance for their sector in terms of controlling the public health risks, they will be taking reasonably practicable precautions to control workplace risks.
  • Where the Health and Safety Executive identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant Public Health Egland guidance to control public health risks, for example, employers not taking actions to socially distance and it is practical to do so, then the Health and Safety Executive will consider a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks, ranging from the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements with the PHE guidance.

Working at home: The HSE is seeking to update the web page advising on protecting home workers This now includes a video clip which seeks to summarise the DSE advice.

On behalf of the NEC I would like to pass on our continued thanks to you all at this difficult time for your professionalism and bravery. We will continue to keep you update, continue the business of the Union and will work jointly with the Government and HMPPS to ensure you are as safe as you can be and are supported appropriately.

Yours Sincerely

General Secretary


Yours Sincerely

National Chair

Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.