Health and Safety Management during a Pandemic
Coronavirus Health and Safety Management
Be agile, be ready to respond and change
H&S Management in Situational and Exceptional Times
Business is very much ‘not as usual’ for everyone at the moment; where businesses are able to still trade, an understanding of how to do this safely and healthily is vitally important.
While some companies are locking down, the essential services are going to be all hands to the pumps. From a H&S perspective, this may mean:
- New employees; both permanent, temporary and voluntary
- Changes in shift patterns to manage customer demand, employee needs, furloughed staff, increased or decreased demand for services
- Increases in number of deliveries and changes in delivery times
- More and different types of visitors to premises (customer types, delivery driver etc)
- Introduction of additional work equipment
- potentially new work processes or activities
- new procedures for staff out on the road still fulfilling servicing and delivery requirements
“Therefore it is important that a sensible and proportionate approach is taken to managing worker and public safety. A key component of this will be your Coronavirus Risk Assessment underpinning the logic of the safety decisions you need to make”
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Some steps that may help prevent incidents in these challenging times:
- Follow the government guidance on opening, working from home (Flexible Home Working Guidance), self-isolation and social distancing
- Consult with employees on the changes in the workplace, they will have useful input on the subject
- Ensure workers have access to adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); this will not just be the obvious masks and gloves but also footwear and high viz clothing for those managing deliveries.
- If RPE / close fitting face masks are needed at work, face fit testing will be required
- For those that may be using new equipment; ensure that they know how to use and store it safely
- New workers should receive a suitable induction, in particular for busy venues, fire safety and evacuation (fire warden training), which we can arrange virtually too)
- Ensure there is a suitable scheme in place for keeping the premises clean and clear of slip and trip hazards, and fire exits are kept clear
- Where excess packaging will be produced, ensure there are sensible measures for waste removal to prevent any potential fire hazards
- Review your risk assessments for manual handling, loading and unloading, and procedures for visiting drivers and use of banksmen
- You may be having to bring in additional contract cleaners, it is important that they are managing safety well too
- Ensure you welfare facilities are in place and employees can take breaks when needed and have access to a wholesome supply of drinking water. You may make a judgement on whether 3rd parties can use your facilities at this time (down to your own risk assessment)
- Carry out a Coronavirus Risk Assessment
RIDDOR - Reporting Workplace Coronavirus Cases
A very recent change to RIDDOR has been published in relation to Coronavirus. The RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, Dangerous Occurences Regulations 2013) only requires reporting of incidents that are work related. This applies to Coronavirus in the following way –
You must only make a report under RIDDOR when:
- an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
- a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
Useful Government and NHS Links aimed more towards the Workplace
Health and safety management should always follow a sensible risk based approach. If you need help with managing H&S contact Safewell.