EXCELLENCE IN HSE COMPLIANCE
How to reassure your customers and clients that your business is COVID-19 secure
If you are planning on reopening your business, we can provide you with help and advice.
After many months in lockdown some non-essential businesses in England and Wales can now reopen.
As a business you must carry out a risk assessment to demonstrate that you are COVID-19 secure and will keep your customers safe. It is essential to maintain your staff and
customers confidence as the lockdown restrictions are being eased and workplaces are returning to work.
The Government has released a number of guidance documents on how different sectors can work safely during coronavirus, as well as an up-to date list of businesses allowed to open and those that must remain closed. There is separate guidance available for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
COVID-19 is still a risk to your business and you must do everything you can to keep your staff and customers safe. You can check out our guide to carrying out a risk assessment to remain compliant with health and safety legislation and our health and safety checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything out whilst preparing to return to work.
Health and Safety Procedures
You should also review your health and safety procedures to ensure they are suitable and sufficient. Your procedures are going to be vital reassurance to your customers. Staff must be made aware of new procedures you have put in place to reopen your business e.g. social distancing, use of necessary PPE etc.
COVID-19 Secure Workplace
The COVID-19 Return to Work risk assessment will reassure your customers that you are following government guidelines. Health and Safety England offers a COVID-19 secure certificate which you can print off, sign and display within your premises to show that you have complied with government guidance such as completing the risk assessment, implementing social distancing in the workplace, enhancing cleaning and managing the risk off transmission.
Communicate your plans regarding reopening with you staff and customers. This can be done through social media platforms, your company website, or posters displayed in your premise’s windows. Having a clear plan for reopening will give your customers and clients confidence that you are fully prepared to reopen.
Clear communication about any changes to your business opening hours or days is important so that your customers and clients can plan their visits to you accordingly. Consistent messaging will help to reassure your customer and clients, remember this pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone, so be kind, empathic and supportive in any advertising material.
If you have had to adapt your business and implement new services as a result of COVID-19 such as online services, offering deliveries, collection service etc. it would be great if these options can remain in place to provide flexibility during the transition of reopening fully. Customers and clients may be hesitant to visit your premises in person so providing options to them will help your business.
To ensure that you remain compliant with the latest government advice you should regularly check the GOV.UK website and the HSE website for the latest health and safety information, guidance documents and advice to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in your business, including your customers and clients.
For more advice and guidance on how to ensure your business is COVID-19 secure including help with risk assessments, access to printable posters and useful checklists and information documents contact us on 01792 323404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This guidance is for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
Working outdoors includes people in:
It is stressed that the government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace.
The document sets out guidance on how to work safely. It gives practical considerations of how this can be applied in the workplace. It is advised that each business will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take depending on the nature of their business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.
The guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that businesses or employers continue to comply with existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, contractors and other people, as well as your employees.
To help decide on which actions to take, an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment must be carried out, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers.
The sections of this guidance cover the following:
Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments covering risks to employees who are at work and also risks to non-employees arising from their operations and to make and give effect to appropriate arrangements for planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review. Given that existing risk assessments may not cover Covid-19 hazards in sufficient detail, employers may wish to develop a specific risk assessment as part of their reoccupation planning. They must also consider how the key findings and controls from the risk assessment are effectively communicated to staff and other interested parties and how they are implemented.
In terms of topic areas, a reoccupation risk assessment might cover the following:
For your risk assessment or advice on your risk assessment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Here at CoreGenic, we are determined to help businesses get back to work. The attached guidance is issued jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS), Public Health Scotland, Public Health England and NHS England as official guidance.
It is noted that the guidance is of a general nature and that an employer should consider the specific conditions of each individual place of work and comply with all applicable legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Having assessed the available evidence and feedback received from guidance users, PHE have updated sections to improve the guidance and ensure that it continues to make recommendations that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe.
Main changes to the guidance are:
During this unprecedented time, some of your businesses 1st Aid cover might not be able to get to work because of COVID-19. In light of this, the HSE have issued guidance that you might need to know.
Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) Use during Covid-19 in a Non-healthcare and Non-social Care Setting
This technical guide covers the use of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) during the current Covid-19 pandemic in a non-healthcare and non-social care setting. It is intended to assist employers in answering queries that they may receive from employees, customers and other interested parties in relation to the use of RPE as a control measure during the pandemic. It is based on the latest UK Government advice at 22 April 2020.
COVID-19 - Social distancing, keeping businesses open and in-work activities during the coronavirus outbreak
The HSE has provided some guidance on the above now that some of you are looking at going back to work. The link is here:- https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/social-distancing-coronavirus.htm?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_content=social-distancing#
Here at CoreGenic Ltd, during this unprecedented time, we are trying our level best to inform you as best we can regarding your works, duties, mental health and well being.
To follow on from our previous postings, we are proud to issue you all with a guide for Lone Working. This is because most of our works will now mean that we no longer can have a buddy to assist in us carrying out our tasks.
Covid-19 – Driving and Drivers
Over the last few weeks, we have all begun to live and work in a very different place.
For those of you responsible for managing company vehicles, and with people who drive for work, there are many new challenges to navigate. None of us know for sure how long the disruption due to COVID-19 is going to last or, when we start to come out of it, what the new ‘normal’ is going to look like.
We have to remain positive, deal with the challenges we face as best we can and prepare ourselves properly for a world which won’t look the same as it did before.
Many business offering essential services are now operating at, or even above, maximum capacity. While there are currently temporary relaxations of regulations in areas such as drivers’ hours, this does not reduce your duty of care responsibilities to manage work-related road risk. You need to consider the challenges around maintaining safety critical policies such as the management of driver fatigue as well as issues around driver recruitment, driver eligibility and sanitisation where multiple employees may be using the same vehicle.
While those who can are now working from home leading to a massive increase in lone working, we’ve also seen many businesses with non-essential staff, including many van drivers, furloughing staff who are now sat at home wondering what the future holds. Managing mental health will be a major issue for all employers whether their staff are working from home, furloughed or still operational.
A combination of lack of engineers due to self-isolation, and the closing of many garages means there is a serious lack of capacity to keep up with vehicle maintenance requirements. The temporary suspension of MOTs and maintenance schedules is meant to help keep vital business operational however you are still absolutely required to ensure your vehicles are roadworthy at all times – something the Traffic Commissioners and Health and Safety Executive have explicitly reinforced. You will need to consider the challenges of maintaining an operational fleet, managing mileage, and the implications of mothballing non-essential vehicles.
Fleet Admin & Housekeeping
If your fleet is classed as essential then you may be extremely stretched and feeling you aren’t able to focus everything as much as you would like but we can’t stress enough the importance of ensuring all your staff, and especially any new recruits, follow established policies – and now more than ever. This is highlighted by the recent successful prosecution of a business for a fatal accident following its failure to follow its own fatigue management policies. If you’re running a non-essential fleet, you may find this is an opportune time to start developing stronger procedures that build additional efficiency and resilience into your fleet management before we all return to work.
Back to "Normal"
Most seem to agree that ‘normal’ won’t look like it did before and elements of the fleet and transport world will have changed forever. The fast adoption of online meetings may, for instance, mean managing much lower car mileage in future. Now is the time that consideration should now be given to some of the key issues fleet and transport managers will have to address over the coming months such as the extensive checks required before reinstating mothballed vehicles, important considerations when bringing back furloughed drivers, and why the backlog in vehicle maintenance will cause significant problems for some time to come.
CDM Regulations 2015 – 3 Key Documents
Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 are applicable to all construction projects regardless of the size, duration, commercial or domestic (residential).
What is classified as ‘Construction Work’ – the CDM Regulations 2015 define “Construction work means the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes (a) the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commission, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure, or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), de-commissioning, demolition or dismantling of a structure”
The CDM Regulations require 3 key documents for projects where there is more than one contractor and they are:
Pre-construction information can include information such as surveys, drawings, services, relevant information for the project. It is the Principal Designers responsibility to co-ordinate health and safety information at the pre-construction stage, therefore it is important the Principal Designer is appointed as early as possible in the project.
Construction Phase Plan
The Construction Phase Plan (or sometimes referred to as the Construction Health and Safety Plan) is required by CDM Regulations on all projects regardless of size, duration or
complexity). The Construction Phase Plan must be must be prepared before any work commences.
The Construction Phase Plan is a document detailing how health and safety will be managed throughout the duration of the project and will include details of work to be carried out, project management team and emergency arrangements. The content of the Construction Phase Plan will be specific to the project and should include the following key headings:
Health and Safety File
The Health and Safety File is an important document required by CDM Regulations 2015 and is required on projects where there is more than one contractor.
The Health and Safety File is prepared by the Principal Designer and will contain all relevant Health and Safety information needed to allow future construction work and future use (cleaning and maintenance) of the building to be carried out safely.
Information for the Health and Safety File is gathered off all CDM Duty Holders including the Client, Principal Contractor and other contractors working on the project.
The Health and Safety File should be proportionate to the project, larger more complex projects will require more information than a relatively small straight forward project.
The CDM Regulations 2015 require certain information to be included within the Health and Safety File (the exact information to be included will depend on the size, and complexity of the project). Generally, the Health and Safety File should include the following:
Here at CoreGenic, we understand that in this unprecedented time, the majority of you will be working from home.
The attached document is to ensure that your Health & Safety is not compromised and that the same values you have in work, also apply at home.
COVID-19 - RIDDOR Reporting
Here at CoreGenic, we would remind you all that during this difficult time, we still have a duty to report all incidents/accidents/diseases if they fall into the RIDDOR category.
COVID-19 does fall under the RIDDOR reporting requirements, so for clarity:-
You must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:
What to report
If something happens at work which results in (or could result in) the release or escape of coronavirus you must report this as a dangerous occurrence. An example of a dangerous occurrence would be a lab worker accidentally smashing a glass vial containing coronavirus, leading to people being exposed.
Cases of disease: exposure to a biological agent
If there is reasonable evidence that someone diagnosed with COVID-19 was likely exposed because of their work you must report this as an exposure to a biological agent using the case of disease report. An example of a work-related exposure to coronavirus would be a health care professional who is diagnosed with COVID-19 after treating patients with COVID-19.
COVID-19: Cleaning in Non-Healthcare Settings
What you need to know:
Experience of new coronaviruses (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) has been used to inform this guidance.
The risk of infection depends on many factors, including:
• the type of surfaces contaminated
• the amount of virus shed from the individual
• the time the individual spent in the setting
• the time since the individual was last in the setting
The infection risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) following contamination of the environment decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.
Principles of cleaning after the case has left the setting or area
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The minimum PPE to be worn for cleaning an area where a person with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) is disposable gloves and an apron. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds after all PPE has been removed.
If a risk assessment of the setting indicates that a higher level of virus may be present (for example, where unwell individuals have slept such as a hotel room or boarding school dormitory) or there is visible contamination with body fluids, then the need for additional PPE to protect the cleaner’s eyes, mouth and nose might be necessary. The local Public Health England (PHE) Health Protection Team (HPT) can advise on this.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time, such as corridors, but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids can be cleaned thoroughly as normal.
All surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected, including:
When items cannot be cleaned using detergents or laundered, for example, upholstered furniture and mattresses, steam cleaning should be used.
Any items that are heavily contaminated with body fluids and cannot be cleaned by washing should be disposed of.
If possible keep an area closed off and secure for 72 hours. After this time the amount of virus contamination will have decreased substantially and you can clean as normal with your usual products.
Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s items.
Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air. Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with your usual products, in line with the cleaning guidance above.
Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including disposable cloths and tissues):
• if the individual tests negative, this can be put in with the normal waste
• if the individual tests positive, then store it for at least 72 hours and put in with the normal waste
If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate, arrange for collection as a Category B infectious waste either by your local waste collection authority if they currently collect your waste or otherwise by a specialist clinical waste contractor. They will supply you with orange clinical waste bags for you to place your bags into so the waste can be sent for appropriate treatment.
During this difficult time, many of you will be asked to work from home, if you are an employer, you must make sure there is a risk assessment of the work activities that are to be carried out. This may involve you visiting someones residence or more likely, it may involve you providing a questionnaire and asking for appropriate evidence e.g. photographs. It will help decide if sufficient steps have been taken to prevent harm to your employees or anyone else who may be affected by their work.
What are your responsibilities?
If you have provided electrical equipment to your employee, then you as an employer are responsible for its maintenance.
You are not responsible for electrical sockets or other parts of your employees domestic electrical system, these are their responsibility. It is also recommended that your employee, carry out the following basic checks on a regular basis:
The COVID - 19 pandemic has had an impact on organisations in many different ways, meaning that the assumptions made at the time when risk assessments were originally carried out, and policies were written, are no longer true. This guide describes the factors you should take into account as you review these documents in the light of the pandemic and its effects.
You should review all your company policies to make sure they are relevant. You may even need to develop a specific COVID-19 policy depending on the status of your company.
A typical COVID-19 policy should include the following:
The Beast from the East has hit the UK and the temperatures externally have plummeted over the last few days.
How will this affect those who have to work externally?
The NHS define frostbite as ‘damage to the skin and tissue caused by freezing temperatures – typically temperatures below -0.55C’. Frostbite commonly effects the extremities such as hands, feet, ears, nose and lips however any part of the body can be effected.
In severe cases of frostbite the blood supply to the tissue is lost causing the tissue to die (gangrene). Surgery will be required to remove the dead tissue or in very severe cases amputation may be required.
If the temperature outside is 1.70C and the wind is blowing at 8kph it would take less than 30 minutes to contract frostbite on exposed skin. This is not really cold so the colder and windier it gets the less time it will take to develop frostbite.
So here is what you can do:
1. Know the conditions – have an understanding of how long individuals can be exposed to specific weather conditions to prevent them developing frostbite. Winter weather can change rapidly with very little warning or notice. Regularly monitor the weather to ensure you can modify your safety strategy.
2. Limit the amount of time workers are exposed – It doesn’t take very long to be seriously afflicted with frostbite, there are many charts and graphs available to calculate time it will take to suffer frostbite, allow time between for workers to return to warm environment. Remember to allow time to safely shut down work and clear away any tools/equipment.
3. Create warming stations – strategically placed warming stations allow workers to gradually raise the temperature of their skin. Warming stations do not have to be too warm as raising the temperature too quickly can result in workers feeling discomfort or pain.
4. Cover body parts – Cover the body parts that can be covered. Wool has great insulating properties. Tight fitting garments can increase the danger of frostbite.
5. Knowing the symptoms of frostbite – recognising the symptoms and intervening before frostbite occurs.
Symptoms of Frostbite
Symptoms of frostbite include:
· Cold skin and prickling feeling
· Feeling of numbness
· Red, white, bluish-white or greyish-yellow skin
· Hard or waxy looking skin
· Clumsiness due to muscle and joint stiffness
· Blistering after rewarming in severe conditions
Risk assessments are vital in ensuring you protect your employees and business – they also ensure you are complying with the law. Risk assessments should be carried out at any time you or your employees carry out work which could cause individuals or others injury or ill health.
Risk assessments are crucial in health and safety management to assist in reducing incidents/ accidents and to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Be mindful of who is conducting your risk assessments as the individual should be competent, able to evaluate the risk, categorise sufficiently and identify hazards and control measures required to reduce the risk.
We can break down how we carry out our risk assessments into five steps to ensure our assessments are correct and sufficient:
1 – Identify the hazards
A hazard is a source of potential harm which can be identified by using numerous techniques such as asking employees, looking at your accident records or inspections of your workplace
We must not confuse a ‘hazard’ with a ‘risk’. When evaluating a ‘risk’ we could consider the chance or probability of a person being harmed when exposed to a ‘hazard’
2 – Consider who could be harmed and how
You need to consider who could be exposed to the hazards – you, your employees, members of the public, contractors or clients
3 - Evaluation of risks and control measures
This step is where we consider how we would protect those exposed to the hazards – we would consider can the hazard be removed or can we control the risk so injury is unlikely. It is important to identify the control measures that need to be implemented to reduce the risk of injury or harm.
4 – Document findings
This step allows us to evidence what we have considered and identified as potential hazards, who could be exposed to the hazards and how we intend on reducing/ eliminating the potential risks and hazards. It is also good to get into the practice of documenting findings – if there are 5 or more employees it is a legal requirement to do this
5 – Review your risk assessments regularly
The potential hazards and risks could change on a regular basis so it is always good practice to review your risk assessments regularly and make any required amendments. The review of a risk assessment would be required after an incident/accident, where there is a change in process, equipment or personnel.
We can assist you with carrying out Risk Assessments within your company or we can review your existing assessments to ensure they are suitable and efficient – for more information please email email@example.com
Coregenic HSE provide 5 strategies to improve Health & Safety Management in the workplace.
A recent HSE investigation highlights the dangers of poor working practices identified through social media.