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COVID-19 Risk Assessment

After recent Government announcements some businesses are considering the return to work for certain employees. The guidance though is clear, employers must complete a COVID-19 Risk Assessment and display a notice when they have done so.

The aim of the COVID-19 Risk Assessments is to ensure the businesses have the relevant practices in place to help you manage the risk associated with running your business at this time.

The Health and Safety Executive have issued a short guide on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak, download it here

The COVID-19 Risk Assessment will cover the steps needed to get your workplace safe and will help identify any practical measures you can implement.

Although there are workplace specific guidelines, 5 practical actions for businesses to take are:

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

  • carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
  • consulting with your workers or trade unions
  • sharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website

2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:

  • encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
  • providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers

3. Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements
  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
  • including them in all necessary communications
  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing

4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • avoiding sharing workstations
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible

5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it’s not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
  • staggering arrival and departure times
  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

Industry specific guidelines

  • Construction and outdoor work guidance can be read here
  • Factories, plants and warehouses guidance can be read
  • Labs and research facilities guidance can be read here
  • Offices and contact centers guidance can be read here
  • Other people’s homes guidance can be read here
  • Restaurants offering takeaway and delivery guidance can be read here
  • Shops guidance can be read here

You must not reopen if your business is closed under current government rules.

If you would like further advice on help for the self-employed or small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic speak to AJR & Co Ltd.