What to consider when preparing a COVID-19 Risk Assessment
If you are starting to consider a gradual return to work the government guidance is that you must assess and manage the risks of COVID-19. This means you need to think about the risks your employees may face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them. The risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. Boris Johnson has said that employers will not be allowed to get away with forcing people to work in conditions that are not COVID-secure. The guidance states that you should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce and there is an expectation that all businesses with over 50 employees publish it on their website.
What should you include?
COVID-19 is spread by infected people coughing and sneezing and also if droplets land on surfaces (for example desks, keyboards, pens). A person touches the surface and it spreads onto their hands, putting them at risk when they touch their face or eyes – and others when they touch other surfaces.
Therefore think about the following five steps when creating your risk assessment.
- Identify hazards in the workplace – entering the premises, seating, moving and handling. Ask your staff what they think the risks are. They will often understand the risks and have ideas on how to mitigate them.
- Consider who could be harmed and how they might be harmed. Pay particular attention to those staff who may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Evaluate the risk – what is the likelihood of harm happening and what strategies will reduce the harm. This could include frequent hand washing, social distancing, using screens and barriers, working back to back, reducing the number of people each person has contact with.
- Record and reflect on your findings.
- Review – it will need constant review. What has changed? What policies are needed?
As always, if you need any support or advice, feel free to contact us – we are here to help!