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COVID-19:

Re-starting your business
guidance for businesses

With ongoing Covid restrictions across the UK your business may have needed to change the way it operates or even been closed for extended periods of time. 

Re-opening your business can present specific hazards, which if not planned or managed properly, may result in damage, injury, legal action and further disruption to your business.

Due to a variety of human and operational factors, there may be an increased risk of:
- accidents / injury
- machinery, plant, equipment or services damage or breakdown
- fire explosion
Your business operations and activities may have changed for example, keeping an increased level of stock, introducing different processes or procedures, changes in shift patterns and staffing. Where these changes introduce new hazards or exposures, risk management measures should all be re-assessed and adapted accordingly
If you have furloughed staff, you will also need to consider the timeframe for bringing them back into the workplace.
If a safe working environment cannot be created, whether through inadequate fire protection, security, unsafe machinery / plant, lack of trained staff or the complexities of implementing COVID 19 precautions for example, then those operations should be postponed until such a time that corrective measures can be put in place. 
Whether you have a construction business, you're a property owner or work in lesiure, we have a range of guides that can help you re-start your business. 

Watch our videos on restarting your business

Planning ahead

Your premises

Your people

Your machinery

Check these are still relevant to the operation of your business to ensure a safe working environment for your employees onsite, offsite and working at third party premises.

Where your business operations and activities have changed, complete new risk assessments and share the results and actions with your employees, any visitors or contractors. Remember to include fire and security precautions in your review, implementing changes and enhancements where necessary (such as fire or intruder alarm detection or sprinkler protection) 

Further support can be found on our health & safety risk assessment, safe systems of work, and fire risk assessment pages of the risk management section of our website.
 

This includes all buildings (interior and exterior), utility services, machinery and plant, stock, any hazardous operations, emergency back-up systems and safety equipment. Locate and fix any unsafe or abnormal conditions such as damage, maintenance issues, leaks, faulty safety and emergency systems, improper housekeeping or storage, signs of vandalism or theft. Our equipment checklist may help you.
Ensure these are up to date and that there’s adequate coverage for assigned positions on all shifts, such as fire wardens and first aiders. Further support can be found on our emergency procedures page.

 

This includes plant and processes in line with all standard operating procedures (SOPs) and manufacturers‘ guidelines. 

 

This includes those of a statutory nature that may have lapsed since the shutdown such as utility services, machinery and plant, emergency systems, vehicles, fire and security protection or detection systems. Our equipment checklist may help you.

Check employees have the necessary skills, training and licensing requirements and review whether additional employee training programmes or certification and supervision is required. Refer to your Return to Work policy (if available). Mental health and wellbeing should be considered as well as physical fitness. Further support can be found on our training page.

 

This includes fire sprinkler / suppression systems, fire pumps, water supplies, fire alarm systems, intruder alarm systems, CCTV and access control.
Pay particular attention to communal areas and touchpoints and include company vehicles in your cleaning regime. Be aware that any alcohol-based sanitisers are flammable. As well as updating your fire risk assessments, check there are no ignition sources near where you are storing them. This includes electrical equipment, hot surfaces and smoking areas. Store them ideally within purpose designed flammable liquid cabinets or steel cabinets. Further support can be found on our storage and use of flammable / explosive materials page.
These may include social distancing, floor markings, protective equipment, staggered working hours and breaks and digital rather than paper use. Guidance is available from UK Government, Public Health England, Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Wales and the HSE, or may also be available from trade / industry associations.

Review your existing insurance cover to ensure these are still relevant to your business.  If you have changed your business operations during the pandemic, please discuss this with your broker, to ensure you have the right level of cover for your business. 

When reviewing your business continuity plan include supply chain resilience and implement mitigations measures as appropriate, to reflect any changes to your business operations and lessons learned from any temporary shutdown. Visit our business continuity page for more information. 

With the country beginning to ease certain lockdown measures, more businesses are returning or gearing up to return to work. A number of our preferred suppliers offer a range of different products and services, at discounted rates to Allianz policyholders, to assist in operating a safe working environment for business owners, their employees and customers. This includes PPE and face covering equipment, decontamination solutions, social distancing signs and return to work assessments.  

The risk management information and guidance provided herein is not intended to be advice for any specific requirements.

Readers should seek further advice when dealing with their individual and particular situations. Allianz Insurance plc shall have no liability for any action taken as a result of and in reliance on the information contained in this document. The information contained in this document is correct at date of going to print and may be subject to change at any time.  All rights reserved