Coronavirus Risk Assessment
The Coronavirus or COVID 19 risk assessment should specifically consider the risks and hazards imposed by Covid-19.
With people at the forefront, it should be a systematic and thorough review of how the virus could be spread within the business. The emphasis should be on how to control the infection.
Areas that need to be considered and understood include:
- Airborne risk – How and where employees could potentially inhale contaminated droplets
- Contact – How and where employees could potentially touch contaminated surfaces e.g. door handles
- Personal Contact – tasks that result in employees potentially touching their face (eyes, nose and mouth)
- Social Distancing – How and where employees interact or work in close proximity, which could result in the spread of infection through people interaction or by touching contaminated surfaces
- External 3rd Parties – how and where do employees or the business activities interact with customers, contractors or the public
Like all risk assessments, it is also important that there is consultation with employees, safety and / or Trade Union representatives. This helps ensure a thorough and robust risk assessment and also assists in the engagement of the wider workforce.
Many employees will be very concerned about returning to work and will have lots of questions. Questions about how safe it is and what is being done to protect them. They will want to be reassured that enough has been done to make the workplace COVID safe. Employees will want to be assured that measures, such as, physical (social) distancing, hygiene and cleaning routines and, the provision of personal protective equipment, are in place before they return.
Clear, timely and precise communication is important.
Once the risk assessment and procedures have been agreed, these should be communicated to the employees. This should be communicated before they return to work to allay the fears of people, by giving them the confidence the right actions have been taken to protect them. They should then be reinforced and recommunicated when employees arrive at work.
The situation continues to change on a monthly, weekly and, even daily basis. For this reason, it is important companies constantly review the official advice and all their working practices and risk assessments, modifying and updating them as required. It is equally important that any changes are communicated in a clear and precise manner to keep employees updated and engaged.
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