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The impact of COVID-19 on Agri-supply contracts and worker safety - review & video link

Date Published: 12/06/2020

The Institute provided members with an opportunity to speak directly to the experts at Roythornes Solicitors on the subjects of the impact of Coronavirus on worker safety and Agri-supply contracts.

Attendees heard from Phil Cookson on the absolute essential need to undertake risk assessments for not only the farm as a whole but for each individual role within the business.  Questions were raised on the need for employers to provide face coverings.  Phil summed this up by advising that if face-coverings are deemed necessary following a risk assessment, then – much like hard hats on building sites –  employers should think seriously about providing workers with suitable, comfortable face coverings rather than leaving it to them to provide their own.

Whilst employers are not the police, Phil Cookson advised that employee non-compliance of any rules regarding the safety of themselves and others should be dealt with as any other disciplinary matter would be.

Questions were raised on the ability of employees to sue employers if they were to contract Coronavirus.  The team at Roythornes generally felt it would be difficult to prove causation but employers should be covered by their Employers Liability insurance the details of which should be read carefully at this time.

Julia Seary and Tim Russ answered questions on supply contracts with questions raised on whether buyers can simply vary the collection of milk or potatoes.  In short the team agreed that it depends on the contract.

‘Does Coronavirus constitute Force Majeure? Julia Seary confirmed in her opinion it is probably an ‘act of nature’ which therefore means contractual ‘force majeure’ clauses may be able to be used.  Again, detailed analysis of the contract would need to be undertaken.

The Institute would like to thank Julie Robinson for chairing the session, Phil Cookson, Tim Russ and Julie Seary for their expert opinion and Mark Dodds for his excellent organisation of the event.

A copy of the video for future reference is available by CLICKING HERE (a copy is also available in the 'Member Resources' section of the website).

If you would like to contact any of the Roythornes team in future, please see below full contact details;

Julie Robinson T: 01480 587460 E: julierobinson@roythornes.co.uk

Tim Russ T: 01775 842542 E: timruss@roythornes.co.uk

Phil Cookson T: 01775 842575 E: philcookson@roythornes.co.uk

Julia Seary T: 01775 842573 E: juliaseary@roythornes.co.uk