With people not in the workplace, varying cleaning routines to mitigate COVID spread and things not being normal it might be a good idea to have a spring clean of your health and safety. And that’s not just reflective of actual cleanliness of your site.
Although having said that, before the country opens further and your team all come back in it could be a good idea to make sure your workplace is deep cleaned. You might have been focussing on one area to keep clean for the staff who are in and working in that area. Perhaps now would be a good idea to invest so that you can keep on top of your workplace cleanliness?
Here’s where you need to get your safety feather duster out.
You should share the results of your Covid-19 risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the assessment on your website, you need to do this anyway if you employ over 50 workers. This is something the HSE will request if they, or local authority representatives, make a spot check on your business.
So have you updated your other risk assessment recently? Does it incorporate more people back in the workplace? Remember if you employ 5 or more people these assessment should be written down.
Health and safety documents
What about your documentation? Is it all readily available, can anyone access your training records pertaining to safety or the audits that have been completed in your business?
If things have gotten a bit messy on the centralisation of documentation for your safety records now is a good time to look into the best way to organise things within your organisation. There are lots of tools out there that can help if you need to go digital or checklists to help with your paper-based system organisation. Whatever best works for your team to access all things safety.
Another consideration is how are you assigning the tasks that need to be completed from any audits? Do the people who need to action know what needs to be done and when? This could be something that has slipped whilst people have been low on the ground or away from the workplace.
Looking after desk based workers
Then there’s all the DSE perhaps the office has had to change to accommodate everyone safely. You still need to ensure every desk-based person has been assessed for their welfare, health and safety.
Slips and trips remain the biggest accident and near miss reason within workplaces. If housekeeping hasn’t been a major consideration because your staffing levels have not permitted anything other than production or popping in to get a job done then take a safety walk and see what the environment looks like. If there are any slip or trip hazards get them sorted quickly.
As we start returning to work with guidance from the Government about physical distancing and good hygiene, we need to consider how do our first aiders provide treatment in the workplace. We never know when someone will need first aid in the workplace, however, we need to plan for it happening, and now in a COVID-19 world we need to include preventing infection as part of those plans.
The personal protective equipment has focussed on the wearing of masks. Rightly so right now. However you might need to review what the correct PPE is for your workplace to ensure everyone is visible, protected from elements like dust or fumes, and have everything in good condition like safety specs aren’t scratched, high vis vests are still visible and footwear still gives the required protection.
It is the law to provide acceptable and suitable welfare facilities in a place of work, as these facilities are necessary for the comfort and health of your employees. They include sufficient toilets, washing, changing facilities, a place to rest and somewhere clean to eat and drink during breaks. you need to provide a source of clean running hot and cold water and an appliance for staff to warm up food is also necessary. Rember as staff return you need an enhanced cleaning regime in place as part of your Covid risk assessment.