Businesses have had a lot to contend with once again in recent weeks. Whilst some businesses are continuing their normal day-to-day operations as best they can others have had to temporarily close their workplaces once more or manage staff working from home.
Whatever group your business falls into it’s essential that you carry out appropriate risk assessments to make sure that you and your staff are fully protected from potential Health and Safety breaches.
Employers have a legal duty to ensure their operations are Covid-19 secure. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors and local authorities are carrying out spot checks on all types of businesses across the country to ensure people are not being put at risk. Failure to make workplaces Covid-19 Secure could lead to workplace operations being suspended and businesses facing fines.
What should you do to protect your business from Covid spot checks?
The Government has made it clear that businesses should maintain social distancing, keep workplaces clean, provide opportunities for frequent handwashing, ensure there is adequate ventilation, carry out Covid-19 Risk Assessments of all their activities and implement Covid-19 Secure procedures.
Employers should consult and involve their staff in the steps they are taking to manage the risk of coronavirus in the workplace. They should explain the changes they are planning to ensure work can be carried out safely, make sure the changes will work and listen to ideas from their staff.
Employers still have a responsibility to any staff who are working outside the workplace, at home. Indeed, in the eyes of the law employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as they do for any other employee.
When you have staff working at home you need to consider things like how to keep in touch with them, the type of work they are doing, if their work can be done safely and whether you need to put measures in place to protect them. You also need to consider the impact working from home might have on their well-being and mental health, the suitability of their workstation and the risks associated with using display screen equipment.
What should I have in place to show inspectors during a Covid spot check?
Businesses should have in place a Covid-19 Health and Safety policy or there should be a section within their existing policy that deals with Covid-19. You should have a Covid-19 Risk Assessment – if you have five or more employees there is a legal requirement for you to have a written record of any significant findings. In addition to these documents, you should have an Emergency Action Plan and training records. You should also ensure that your staff are fully aware of this information.
We realise updating, or in some cases creating, Health and Safety policies to manage the risks associated with a full lockdown can seem daunting to firms. For company bosses it may feel like one more headache on top of all the other things they are having to manage to keep their businesses afloat during these difficult times. To know that if you don’t manage the Health and Safety risks appropriately you could be facing fines or a suspension of your business just compounds that headache.
Rest assured this is just one of the many areas where Acorn Safety Services can help businesses. Our expert team can help firms to amend their risk assessments in line with the requirements of a full lockdown to make sure they are Health and Safety compliant.
We also provide a Retained Health and Safety Consultant Service to ensure you never have to worry about Health and Safety again. We’ve assisted all types of business from construction companies to schools, hospitals, offices and everything in between. So, whatever your business does, we will show you exactly what to do to become health and safety complaint, supported by one of our retained health and safety consultants.