When Lockdown measures were relaxed in July last year, it became mandatory to carry out a risk assessment to manage #Covid-19 in the workplace. This was not new, there has always been a requirement to manage risk to health and safety at work, however this hazard is not industry specific and as such applies to all. Consider who is a risk (don’t forget the vulnerable and those returning from shielding), how they might be exposed and how likely is it. You’ve cracked the basics, now all you need to do is eliminate the possible exposure or control it. Common controls you will have seen include, work from home (isolating it), marking the floor (distancing it), promoting hand washing (eliminating it), and as a last resort, the correct wearing of PPE. You should try to avoid the last resort and think seriously about how you do what you do.
As we approach the end of another Lockdown how have things changed? It’s still mandatory to carry out a #Covid risk assessment. Let’s face it, you need it to get your Covid Safe certification, ‘Good to Go’ tick, approval, etc., in order to show you are operating safely. It is, however, all too easy to lose sight of what it is actually for. It produces the action list (controls) you need to keep your team and anyone else in contact with your business safe from this hazard. So it’s time to review your original or actually complete your first one. It’s also time to implement your controls, to practice them, to evaluate them and to tweak them. Some common error traps we’ve seen: additional cleaning but no change in cleaning contracts; hand sanitisers but no mention of who tops them up; mandatory mask but no one challenges those not wearing one correctly or not at all. The writing is the start, the doing makes it effective, the reviewing, willingness to admit it’s not working and the rethinking then doing it again is what makes it really effective and sustainable. Be predictable, do what you say you are going to do, everyday.
Talk to your workers, listen to their ideas as they are the ones you want to apply the controls and they know their workspace and routine. Communication is everything. The greater the understanding of why, the more likely it will be followed. Remember, guidance is written for all, risk assessments are written by you for your business so take ideas and best practice but don’t compare.