A risk assessment is an essential part of managing health and safety for your business. However, what many businesses may not have considered is whether or not they need to create a risk assessment in response to Covid-19 in their workplace.
As an employer, you are required to carry out a ‘risk assessment’ to ensure the safety and welfare of your staff. This equally applies to the Covid-19 threat. You should consider all activities and determine what controls are effective for your particular working environment.
Covid-19 presents significant potential risk to your employees and customers, so you need to think about how you can control the risks in your workplace, consider what might cause infection to people while at your place of work and steps you need to take to prevent harm.
HSE guidelines state if you have fewer than five employees you don’t need to have either a paper or digital record of your risk assessment, but for any businesses with more than five you’ll need to ensure you have a record of it.
How to assess the Covid-19 risks in your workplace:
- Identify how Covid-19 could cause harm in your business (hazard)
- Decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
- Take action to control the risk of Covid-19
- Maintain a clear record of your risk assessment and control steps
- Review your Covid-19 risk assessment in line with government guidelines and your changing business operations.
Why is a Covid-19 risk assessment important?
The Risk Assessment will provide evidence that you have considered all aspects of your business activities and have put in place measures to protect everyone. A risk assessment is also:
- A legal duty
- They form part of a business due diligence defence
- They provide transparency and reassurance for employees
- They demonstrate effective safety management
It is recommended that you have a clear risk assessment and liaise with your business insurance provider to ensure that they are satisfied with your processes and that you are protected.
When you have completed your risk assessment, you should consult your staff and make them aware of the findings and key controls. It’s important that you effectively explain your controls to staff so they understand how they may need to change the way they work. It’s also advisable that you check they are following the controls correctly and maintain checks on an ongoing basis.
Covid-19 Safety Recommendations & Considerations
Sanitation processes and hand washing – We recommend that you should effectively sanitise ‘high touchpoint areas’ such as door handles and light switches every 30 minutes. Handwashing should also be done every 20 minutes, setting an alarm/reminder would be helpful to enforce this. This should feature as a process in your Covid-19 control risk assessment.
Social Distancing – You’re probably sick of hearing about it! But Social distancing is key factor in ensuring the safety of your staff and customers. You need to look at how you can operate while ensuring that 2m distance is maintained at all times.
Pod Working – Another control is to limit the number of employees working at any one or ‘zone’ your workplace. By having the same members of staff working together is called ‘Pod’ working and reduced risk by limiting the number of people your staff interact with on a day to day basis.
Staff Health Declaration – Staff should complete a health declaration before entering your business premises. The declaration is to ensure that your staff member, or anyone in their household, has not experienced any symptoms and therefore does not risk infecting other staff members or customers. It’s recommended that staff complete Covid-19 in the workplace training so they understand how to minimise their own risk and risk to others.
What Covid-19 Help is there available for businesses?
Industry-specific Guides & Risk Assessments – Navitas’ environmental health experts have created a number of industry-specific guides and risk assessments to help businesses with their Covid-19 controls. The guides and risk assessments indicate the most important measures to be taken.
Covid-19 Control Audit & Certification – We have also created a Covid-19 Control Audit with certification. Our environmental health experts will audit your Covid-19 controls, similar to a food safety audit, and provide you with a certificate to prove that you have the right controls in place to minimise risk in line with government guidelines.
Covid-19 Return to work training – Navitas’ popular online training academy have created a Covid-19 in the workplace course which all staff can enrol onto and be informed about how to reduce risks, their responsibilities and ultimately remain safe. A detailed synopsis of the course can be found on our store.
Digital Risk Assessments – Maintaining paper-based risk assessments just isn’t efficient or effective – they’re time consuming, difficult to review and find. Navitas Compliance provides a flexible and configurable digital risk assessment tool as part of our compliance safety software – used by over 4,500 businesses. If you’re looking for a way to digitalise your safety processes and save yourself bags of time in the process, why not find out more?
Head over to our Coronavirus help hub to find out about the range of free resources and services to help you.