As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the UK, daily operations will continue to be disrupted for many organisations across the country.
New national and local restrictions may well result in businesses having to implement further measures in-line with government advice. Failing to do so could put the business and its employees at risk
As such, businesses across the country need to ensure they are properly prepared. As we have outlined in our recent Risk Management and Claims Defensibility blog, good communication and a comprehensive audit trail are both vital.
Start with reviewing Government guidance
As you will have noted in the first and second wave of COVID-19 cases, governmental guidance will play a key role in how your organisation should respond to future restrictions. This means that businesses in one sector may be able to remain open, while some businesses may need to close or adjust for a third time. As such, it’s critical to understand and continually review all relevant advice to determine if your business needs to take action.
Review Your Organisational Risks
Similar to conducting a risk assessment for planning to reopen following the first wave of COVID-19 cases, your organisation should continually review the risk assessments you have conducted in preparation for a re-emergence of COVID-19 cases. While the complexity of risk assessments will differ from business to business, they typically involve the following steps:
1. Identifying the hazards—When identifying hazards, it’s a good idea to perform a walk-through of the premises and consider high-risk areas. It’s also important to consider what tasks employees are performing and whether or not they are especially exposed to COVID-19 risks when performing their duties.
2. Assessing risks—Once you have identified the risks facing your business, you must analyse them to determine their potential consequences. For each risk facing your business, you’ll want to determine: How likely is this particular risk to occur? What are the ramifications should this risk occur? When analysing your risks, consider potential financial losses, compliance requirements, employee safety, business disruptions, reputational harm and other consequences.
3. Controlling risks—With a sense of what the threats to your business are, you can then consider ways to address them. For preparing for a second wave of the coronavirus, control measures could include cleaning protocols, work-from-home orders and mandated personal protective equipment (PPE) usage.
4. Monitor and share the results—Risk management is an evolving, continuous process. Once you’ve implemented a risk management solution, you’ll want to monitor its effectiveness and continually reassess. Make sure you communicate the risk assessment with your employees. Remember, the COVID-19 pandemic so far has been rapidly evolving, and guidance can change quickly. Your business should be prepared to take action at short notice.
5. Put procedures and controls in place
If your risk assessment determines that COVID-19 poses a threat to your employees or customers.
For instance, you may want to consider:
Implementing administrative controls
An example of an administrative control for coronavirus is establishing alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time
Utilise PPE if required
Businesses should focus on training workers on proper PPE best practices. Employees should understand how to properly put on, take off and care for PPE. Training material should be easy to understand and must be available in the appropriate language for all workers.
Consider engineering controls
Engineering controls protect workers by removing hazardous conditions or by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard. For COVID-19, engineering controls can include:
Encourage social distancing
Encourage employees to stay home if possible
Following the latest government guidance, which includes advising that all office employees who are capable of conducting their duties remotely do so.
Manage the different risk levels of their employees
It’s important to be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
This can involve:
Perform routine cleaning and disinfection
We have a dedicated Risk Management team at Verlingue, should you have any questions regarding this blog or managing risk in your business please don’t hesitate to contact us.