How to Avoid 3 Common Covid-secure Risk Assessment Failings

Image description: two people sit a covid safe distance apart. Avoid 3 Common Covid Secure Risk Assessment Failings

(note: this article was originally published on 21st January 2021)

There have been widespread concerns that some employers, either deliberately or through ignorance, have been failing to introduce and maintain effective measures to control the spread of Covid-19 in their workplaces. HSE and local authorities have received many thousands of complaints and have responded through enforcement visits and issuing advice. So, what are the more common failings that have been uncovered?

Three main issues seem to be common across all industries:

1. Lack of arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining adequate social distancing:
Don’t fall into the trap of initially establishing strict social distancing measures and then slowly letting things slip. It does require continuous monitoring and supervising as the concept is still unfamiliar. You will have already done a lot of the hard work at the outset so don’t let this go to waste. Remind staff on a daily basis on the need to social distance but reinforce this with supervision.

2. Not having an adequate cleaning regime in force – particularly during busy periods:
-Touch points can easily be contaminated with Covid-19 – it’s one of the main transmission routes. Therefore, it’s really important to keep on top of your cleaning. You should have a detailed cleaning schedule drawn up for either in-house or your contract cleaners. This should specify what should be cleaned, how it should be cleaned and the frequency. If you rely on contract cleaners cleaning once per day, then you are unlikely to be cleaning common touch points such as handles, taps, controls, keypads on shared equipment and handrails frequently enough and so will have to supplement their cleaning with your own. Make a tour of your workplace and identify common touch points and check that these are covered on your cleaning schedule. Allocate responsibility to an individual to ensure that supplementary cleaning is carried out especially during busy periods where such touch points will be used frequently.

3. Providing access for employees to wash hands with warm water and soap:
You should already have adequate washing facilities in your workplace. But do ensure that you provide opportunities for employees to regularly wash their hands. You may have to change work patterns to accommodate this.
Hand sanitisers at employee’s desks are an option where work demands do not allow for frequent breaks. Remind employees on a regular basis on the need to maintain hand hygiene. Observe employees to ensure that they follow this rule and have a quiet word with those that may not be.

For field staff and visiting drivers, facilities must be made available at places they visit so check that the arrangements are satisfactory. Where access may present a problem, provide alternative solutions. These can include hand sanitisers or flasks of warm water, liquid soap and disposable paper towels.

You can see the Government’s Covid 19 advice for business HERE.

What’s next?

Do you require support implementing Covid 19 health and safety services at your business? Please get in touch.  

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