COVID-19 and Health & Safety in the workplace

A round-up of our COVID-19 Health & Safety FAQ's from the week. We start with risk assessments and how to make your workplace COVID-19 secure. 

Does every company need to complete a COVID-19 Risk Assessment?

We often get asked this question and the simple answer is yes, as completing a risk assessment is part of managing the health and safety of your business and controlling the risks in your workplace.

As an employer, you must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus. This is called a COVID-19 Risk Assessment and it will help you manage risk and protect people.

You must:

- identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus

- think about who could be at risk

- decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed

- act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

If you have fewer than five employees, you don’t have to write anything down, but it might help if you do.

The HSE have produced guidance to help you work safely (be COVID-secure) and manage the risk associated with running your business at this time.

It includes practical measures you can take, for example:

- putting in place social distancing measures

- staggering shifts

- providing additional handwashing facilities

Always seek further advice and information if you are unsure.

How can I make my workplace COVID-19 secure?

If through your risk assessment you have identified people who cannot work from home (for example people who operate machinery or work on a construction site), then you should consider what changes you might need in your workplace to reduce risk and make it ‘COVID-secure’.

Entrances and exits

Stagger arrival and departure times so that people do not use entry and exit points at the same time.

Provide handwashing facilities so people can wash their hands when they get into and leave work (provide hand sanitiser where this is not possible).

Social distancing

It is recommended you still keep work areas 2 metres apart unless you can put other measures in place such as screens or masks. Also to allocate one person only to each work area. If this is not possible, then keep the number of people in each work area as low as possible.

To help workers to social distance you can:
- use floor tape or paint to mark work areas
- provide signage to remind people to keep a 2 m distance

- use screens to create a physical barrier between people

- have people working side-by-side rather than face-to-face

- limit movement of people rotating between jobs and equipment

- limit people using lifts and work vehicles in high-traffic areas like corridors, turnstiles and walkways 

- allow only essential trips within buildings and between sites
Breaks and canteens

Stagger breaktimes so that people are not using break rooms, canteens or rest areas at the same time.

Use outside areas for breaks and encourage staff to stay on-site during working hours to help workers with social distancing on their breaks.

Providing packaged meals could help to avoid fully opening canteens. Reconfigure seating and tables in welfare areas to maintain spacing and reduce face to face interactions.

Always seek further advice and information if you are unsure.

Quest Consulting Services have produced some generic templates which may assist you with this process, please visit our website for more details https://www.questconsultingservices.co.uk/

For clarity on the above, please get in touch on 0844 8797286.

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Off Limits Corporate Events

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We have worked with Sarah and her team for 5 years and in this time our business has grown considerably. With telephone support available for all our Managers as they need it plus Sarah and her team proactively keeping us updated on changes in legislation we are reassured that we are in safe hands.

The HR software that Quest implemented also helps us keep on top of the routine aspects of HR such as holiday bookings, recording absence, holding personnel records which then allows Sarah and her team easy access to give us relevant advice.

Our Managers have also benefited from workshops run by Sarah to help develop their skills on handling issues such as disciplinary, appraisals, recruitment etc….

The support of Quest is invaluable and provides a much more cost effective solution than employing a HR Manager in house.

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