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Home Latest News Risk Management Advice – COVID-19

Risk Management Advice – COVID-19

The arrival of COVID-19 to the shores of the U.K. has seen a seismic shift in our approach to business. In many cases we have been forced to shut up shop, mothball our businesses until this terrible disease has passed. For others, the forced closure of non-essential businesses, has seen us shift to home-working. Finally, for some, there has been the sudden increase in recruitment at a time when the post-Brexit labour market has contracted.

Self-employed members of our communities may be forced to retrain. Others are converting hallways and cupboards into their home office while juggling home-schooling their energetic offspring.

Every day brings a new, unexpected and not always welcome change to the way we have to manage our lives and business. Yet, it is crucial that we do not forget our legal obligations to protect those that continue to do business with us, or those that work with us. Health & Safety has not gone away. It too needs to be adapted to this new world and developed for our new normal.

Our sister company, Alan Boswell Risk Management, have been considering some of the implications of H&S as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and have produced some useful guides for your consideration.

Working From Home

Many people will now be set up and working from home and this could continue for some time. Consideration should be given to health and safety of employees and suitable controls put in place.

Display Screen Equipment

For any regular DSE user, the workstation must be assessed. Clearly, during this unprecedented time a sensible approach to this is required. A suitable workstation and chair is a must and additional equipment, such as a monitor stand or footrest, may be necessary.

Providing all home-working employees with the relevant information on how to carry out their own DSE assessment is the easiest way to ensure you meet legal guidelines to provide a safe work area. The HSE have provided a workstation set-up video:

Of the work equipment used at home, employers are only responsible for equipment supplied. Though it isn’t possible to be wholly responsible for electrical equipment in an employee’s home, equipment supplied does need to be inspected and maintained.

Stress/mental wellbeing

At this time we must ensure that mental health is taken into consideration. Forging close bonds with co-workers is beneficial to our mental health and employees need to be made aware that home working can lead to limited social contact resulting in a feeling of isolation.

Practical ways employers can achieve this could include having regular meetings with management (via telephone or Skype), arranging access to helplines and advice, online meetings and setting up contact groups.

Putting in place clear, consistent management systems will reduce the risks home workers face, but it is only
through regular monitoring that you can be sure risks are being controlled adequately.

Download this information in our one-page fact sheet:

Working From Home - COVID-19

Statutory Inspections or Thorough Examinations

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have now released a statement to members of the Safety Assessment Federation in relation to statutory inspections or thorough examinations.

What did it say and what does it mean?

In essence it is business as usual. While there is some legislation to allow for postponement, ultimately every business continues to have a legal obligation to ensure equipment is maintained and inspected.

  • ABRM will continue to support all our clients with their mandatory inspections requirements. If you have upcoming inspections due then we will be in touch to discuss your individual circumstances.
  • However, if for any reason we experience shortages to our own resource we will adopt the approach detailed and prioritise key sectors and high-risk equipment that presents a significant hazard due to failure.
  • It is important to be aware that during this period, individual employers are responsible for the ongoing safety of the equipment in absence of inspection visits.
  • If you have any concerns or questions please call us and a member of our engineering team will assist.

Download this information in our one-page fact sheet:

Statutory Inspections - COVID-19

Empty Buildings / Reduced Activity

Companies will now be operating in different ways and this will mean that buildings may now be unattended or empty, the following should be considered:

  • Insurers should be notified of changes to business operational activities
  • Security controls should be assessed based on likely periods of occupancy to ensure they are adequate
  • All fire protection, detection, and security systems must remain active and monitored remotely where possible
  • Secure the entrances – doors and windows can easily be broken, allowing trespassers to gain entry. More robust measures may be required, such as steel security doors or window boards
  • Prevent access to the site – where your site is open to vehicle access consider blocking the entrances (fences, barriers or secure gates)

Where activity is ongoing at reduced levels then:

  • Risk assessment controls must continue to be followed and consideration given to the changing risk and supervision levels
  • Hazardous work activities and hot-work must be reviewed to ensure that suitable controls are in place and can be adequately maintained
  • Critical maintenance of plant, machinery and equipment is carried out as necessary
  • External areas are clear of waste and combustible materials
  • Consider waste build-up and the controls needed if waste collection services are affected

Download this information in our one-page fact sheet:

Empty Buildings - COVID-19

Information correct at time of publication