COVID-19 safety in the workplace. 

We have, I’m sure, all had time to read and digest what it means for our workplace and job roles to be Covid secure. We all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all within the workplace. This will include those who visit our businesses too. 

The phrase “Risk assessment” can conjure up thoughts of “not more paper!!” “Do I have to spend more time filling in forms as a “tick box” exercise. “My job doesn’t require a risk assessment.”

We all know the harm and devastation this virus has done and could continue to do. Whether you are a business owner, employee, self-employed or freelance, assessing risk and complying with guidelines laid out should always be part of your day today.

Living and working alongside COVID-19 – for now

We are all having to plan, adapt, and for some, change our working habits. This could be difficult which makes a risk assessment even more vital.

Risk assessments do not have to be time-consuming or difficult to complete.

As we know the government has provided sector guidelines to help us complete our own individual business risk assessment. It’s worth reminding ourselves of the basics.

So what is a risk assessment? defined simply:

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your workplace, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.

How are risk assessments helpful?

Risk assessments will help identify what could go wrong, how likely it is to happen and how serious the result could be. The employer then needs to put in place control measures to prevent the problem occurring.

A risk assessment should include any additional staff training requirements and a separate risk assessment should be completed for the number of first aiders required on site.  

Risk assessment for first aid provision needed

Five Steps of a risk assessment

  • Identify the hazards
  • Decide on who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risk and decide on precautions
  • Record your significant findings and implement them
  • Review and update risk assessments

The risk assessment MUST be in place for:

  • The types of equipment required to keep workers safe
  • The different safety signs required and where they need to be placed
  • The types and use of manual handling equipment
  • What hazardous substances are used?
  • What types of display screen equipment is required?
  • Fire assembly points, how to evacuate and an up to date fire evacuation policy is in place.
  • Staff training in all areas of health & safety is vital.

The list could go on.

Where to find risk assessment documents?

The HSE website has some useful information and risk assessment proformas. You may have an industry-specific document you prefer to use.

Staff training

A risk assessment must include any Health & Safety training required.  As employers, employees, self-employed, or freelance we all should have completed a level 2 Health & safety in the workplace qualification within the last 5-6 years.

I hear this statement a lot “health and safety do not apply to my work”. It does!  and COVID-19 is bringing the need to stay safe to the fore. This statement will never be a legal defence if something went wrong.

We must, and should always ensure we feel safe within the environment we work and visit.  

further information on training requirements

We all have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure we are all safe within our working environment.  Risk assessments should be commonplace in all business and for everyone to complete and compile with.

Risk assessments work best when the whole team is involved in their creation.

Everyone knows their job and the measures put in place will be adhered to far more quickly.

When completing your COVID-19 risk assessment – why not complete, refresh or revisit your other risk assessments required by law for your business or setting. This will save time in the long term and will provide confidence that your compliance is up to date.

If ever there was a medical emergency at work, would anyone be able to provide the correct first aid and handle an emergency situation calmly and confidently? It is imperative your team has the correct legal number of first aiders.

The Health & Safety Executive states that:

  • The minimum first-aid provision on any work site is: a suitably stocked first-aid kit
  • An appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements
  • Every business, freelance, self-employed or even sole traders, will have some first aid or health and safety obligations.
  • Information is given to all who work with your business about first-aid arrangements.

It is important to remember that accidents and illness can happen at any time. Provision for first aid needs must be available at all times while people are at work.

Some small workplaces with low-level hazards may need only the minimum provision for first aid. But there are circumstances and factors that will mean you need greater provision. You, as an employer, are well placed to decide the provision you need.

What is a first-aider?

A first-aider is someone who has done training appropriate to the level identified in the needs assessment. This may be: first aid at work (FAW); or emergency first aid at work (EFAW); or some other first-aid training appropriate to the particular circumstances of your workplace.

So what does this mean in practical terms? What does your business need to do?

The main points you need to consider are:

  • Ensure you have the correct ratio of trained first aiders to the full number of staff members within your workplace.
  • All businesses should complete a bespoke training needs assessment. – This takes minutes to complete and will give you a report regarding how many staff will need first aid training needs and the training course they will need to attend
  • Ensure the staff that are appointed as first aiders gain a legally accredited certificate by attending a legally accredited training course.

First Aider risk assessment

This takes minutes to complete and will give you an accurate recommendation of the number of staff needing training and to what level. We have a risk assessment calculator on our website.

 

Sources: HSE.org 

Call us to discuss delivering any of our training courses at your premises at times to suit you. or book onto one of our courses.

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