Continue to review your risk assessments and actions to ensure these remain relevant to the operation of your business and that you are taking all the appropriate measures to ensure a safe working environment (remember any employees working offsite, at home and at 3rd party premises, including those providing delivery services for example), including safe systems of work / working procedures.
Where your business operations and activities have changed, then new risk assessments should be completed and the results and consequent actions shared with your employees (including any temporary and agency personnel) and any visitors, contractors and other occupants or users where premises are shared.
The direct impact of COVID-19 and associated regulation and guidance will continue to be relevant to any decisions you make around the potential for transmission in the workplace, including those with symptoms not attending the workplace and isolating, ventilation, social distancing, enhanced cleaning, disinfection and sanitisation, hand washing and hygiene, the use of face coverings and testing.
You will also need to consider the associated impact of COVID-19 as part of your risk assessments and safe systems of work / working procedures:
- Do you have employees out of the business or the potential for increased absenteeism that could leave you with skills and operational gaps? Do contingency plans address this issue?
- Is there a need to upskill existing employees? If so, who does it, how do you confirm it’s been done and ensure that those upskilled are competent and understand their responsibilities?
- Are all employees aware of safe systems of work and control measures identified through risk assessments for the tasks they are being asked to complete / or could be asked to complete?
- Are arrangements for supervision adequate?
- Is lone or isolated working accommodated? If it is, has an appropriate Policy, risk assessments and safe systems of work been implemented, communicated and tested? Are arrangements in place for regular review? Further support can be found at lone and mobile workers.
- Where absenteeism has the potential to increase workloads, has this been considered as part of the risk assessment process, ensuring that tasks can still be completed safely and without additional risks to the health and safety of employees or contractors for example?
- Do risk assessments and safe systems of work consider maintenance activities in respect of your premises, machinery, plant and equipment and vehicles?
- Machinery interventions (servicing, maintenance, setting and cleaning for example) present particular challenges, with inadequate supervision and / or arrangements for machinery isolation and lock-off (including guarding) often sighted to play a part in accidents and incidents. Are relevant employees and / or contractors therefore aware of all the arrangements for machinery isolation and lock-off? Further support can be found on machinery guarding and intervention.
- Have emergency arrangements including response procedures been considered as part of the review process, including for example first aid and fire warden coverage? These should be periodically reviewed to verify they are up to date and ensure there is adequate coverage for assigned positions on all shifts. Further support can be found on emergency procedures.