Covid-19 Risk Assessment

COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Introduction

It is now clear that COVID-19 will be with us for quite some time and the only way we will be able to completely remove the current restrictions on movements will be the development and production of an effective vaccine.  However, businesses are keen to get their people back to work but only in compliance with Government guidance and ultimately, in compliance with current health and safety law.

Furthermore, whilst it is important to reduce the risk of infection to tolerable levels, companies must also appreciate employee anxieties about a safe return to work and to make plans that accommodate workforce demographics and individual vulnerabilities, including age, pregnancy, mental health and relevant illnesses.  It is important to understand current employee attitudes to returning to work, including individual commuting options and even whether your employees’ household members have vulnerabilities or are shielding.

Health and Safety Criminal Law Obligations

As always, the starting point is to comply with the obligations in Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – all reasonably practicable steps must be taken so as to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your workers and anyone else impacted by your operations. This includes keeping up to date with the work-related risks posed by COVID-19, as well as planning and implementing all reasonably practicable risk reduction measures.

More specifically, there is the requirement in Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to make ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessments of the health and safety risks faced by your employees, as well as non-employees who are affected by your operations. Risk assessments must be in writing if you have 5 or more employees; and they must be reviewed or updated when the circumstances change. Circumstances and knowledge about COVID-19 risks are changing fast, so you need to keep abreast of the latest developments and act accordingly.

Our Approach

Our approach will be to visit the property / business operation and conduct a comprehensive assessment of the virus transmission risk associated with the following:

No.Hazard Subject
1Re-Occupation Planning
2Travelling To The Workplace, Arrival And Departure
3Workplace Design And Layout
4Plant And Equipment
5Security And Deliveries
6Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
7Employee Support Arrangements

 Against a comprehensive set of control standards, our consultants will offer pragmatic and practical virus transmission control advice in a clearly set out action plan.

Report Format

The specific report format of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment would include the following:

Contents
Section 1Executive Summary
Section 2COVID-19 Action Plan
Section 3COVID-19 Risk Assessment
Section 4Supporting Photographs
Section 5Protocol and Disclaimer / Limit of Advice

Evaluating Risk

The report will be prepared following the inspection of the property and will detail the control measures required to maintain social distancing rules thus reducing the risk of virus transmission. The control measures will be based on the interpretation of the most recent Government Guidance:

Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres

Guidance for employers, employees and the self-employed 11 May 2020

Available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres

This document will be updated over time. You can check for updates at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

The scope of the report is limited to the areas specified in Section 1 above.

Unlike more commonly encountered hazards and the risks presented by them, which is determined by a process of reviewing existing control measures and identifying additional control measures, this COVID-19 risk assessment focuses on a single issue, namely, the transmission of coronavirus in the workplace. Furthermore, the more commonly used risk evaluation process is of limited use as is the prioritisation of actions required to reduce the risk.

Therefore, the residual risk for each of the hazard subjects in Section 3 has been deemed to be Tolerable once the identified actions detailed in Section 2 have been introduced.

Once the actions have been introduced and the risk of virus transmission is therefore, Tolerable, the client can re-occupy their building and commence (full or in part) business activities.