Step by step guide to managing COVID-19 risk in the workplace.
The 2019–20 COVID-19 is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus currently affects over 160 countries and has been declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic. Confirmed cases of novel coronavirus have crossed 380,000, while more than 16,000 deaths have been reported across the world. Over 65% of the global COVID-19 cases are currently outside China.
Many countries have requested that where possible employees work from home, however this is not an option across all sectors. There are several key services such as hospitals, supermarkets, pharmacies, food manufacturers who are having to remain open and continue with business under tremendous pressure to meet the demands of their nation.
We are writing to outline what a business can and must do to protect and support it's employees and customers at this crucial time while helping the government to contain the spread of the disease.
The key task is to conduct a Coronavirus risk assessment which will enable you have the correct policies and procedures in place to protect your staff and ensure they are familiar with your guidelines should and when the inevitable happen and the disease dramatically spreads. There is also a legal, moral and financial obligation on you as a business to ensure you manage the risk of the disease appropriately. If you have capacity to develop these in-house here’s our guidance below on the key steps that we advise you to follow:
IDENTIFYING THE HAZARD
The key question you are asking here is if an infected person were to enter the premises what risk would they cause? This needs to considered in terms of your employees, customers and visitors. Everyone in the organisation needs to be aware of the hazards and risks in relation to a potential coronavirus infection.
You would need to consider carefully the walk through, areas of high traffic, waiting areas and work areas for the various roles and functions. In addition you must make full assessment on the equipment and machinery used and what protection the staff have in terms of PPE, likewise what do your customers and visitors need to eliminate potentially spreading the virus?
IDENTIFY WHO MIGHT BE HARMED AND HOW
The information required for this step is derived from your findings of the previous step-Identifying the hazard. At this stage of the assessment you will need to consider carefully all roles and how each role would be affected by the hazard (coronavirus contamination) including exactly who could be harmed and how. There is likely to be certain job roles that pose higher risk to individuals due to the nature of the role, likewise there will be certain individuals that pose higher risk due to their health conditions. This is where having a robust up to date safety and health management system including clean data on your employees and any pre-existing medical conditions is of added value.
EVALUATE THE RISK AND PRECAUTION
You will now have gathered all the risks. At this stage you must create a risk table to show the likely hood of the risk happening and how severe it could be:
You must also clearly present control measures for the identified risks. The measures vary depending on the job, environment, duty, sector and the role.
To control the hazard of the spread of the virus the following measures can be put in place:
· PPE RECORD YOUR FINDINGS AND IMPLEMENT THEM
You have identified the risk, who might be harmed, how they might be harmed and evaluated the risks and precautions. This stage requires you to record your findings and implement actions based on the outcomes to eliminate or control the hazard and any associated risks. In this instance control measures might include PPE, new processes or additional cleaning.
The most important task at this stage is to ensure all members of staff are aware of and fully understand the precautions, guidelines and processes you have created. You must conduct briefings and share documents with all those identified as risk associates and you must where possible ensure that they acknowledge the information you’re sharing with them. If the information applies to your customers and visitors, you must ensure that they also follow any processes and procedures you have put in place.
REVIEW YOUR ASSESSMENT AND UPDATE ACCORDING TO THE CHANGE
The situation with the Coronavirus is ever changing at a very past pace, while we suggest that every organisation conducts this risk assessment as soon as possible, we would also encourage you to update the documentation and information regularly as the situation changes. This will ensure that the risks are controlled and will help to maintain the wellbeing and save the lives of those effected by being present on your premises. With each document, process or procedure that gets updated the changes must be communicated and acknowledge by the workforce. Up to date documents must also be present for your visitors and potential customers visiting your site. Mobius Training and Consultancy Limited are on hand to assist and guide you on all health and safety related matters. Contact us for any additional help or guidance. The safety of yourself and your employees is our number one priority.