Yep, we’ve jumped straight to step five of the five steps to risk assessment. Why? Because there is one pretty significant change which might impact the validity of your risk assessments, COVID-19.
We’re assuming you’ve carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment for your workplace to identify transmission risks and the mitigating measures needed, but what about your other risk assessments, have you reviewed and updated them?
Let’s take a look at what might need reviewing in light of COVID-19…
Fire risk assessments
While the Government guidance advises that life safety takes precedence over COVID-19 risks, and people do not have to remain 2m apart in emergencies, have you made any other changes which might affect fire safety?
Are people wedging fire doors open to reduce touchpoints?
Does people working more flexibly or from home lead to reduced fire marshal coverage?
Has your fire marshal training lapsed as you’re not delivering face to face training?
Does your fire assembly point allow for social distancing, or have you decided to implement an interim dispersal process?
Have you updated and communicated any revisions to your fire and emergency plan?
Do you have a lack of staff able to help with assisted evacuations of mobility-impaired people, such as evacuation chair users?
If you’ve separated workstations out to maintain social distancing, does the new layout affect evacuation routes and exits, or have fire fighting appliances become blocked?
First aid risk assessments
As with fire above, Government guidance is that people do not have to be 2m apart if that would be unsafe. Still, people providing emergency help, such as first aiders, should pay particular attention to sanitising hands before and after assisting.
Do you need to give first aiders information on how they can keep themselves safe when helping people, such as the use of gloves, face masks or revised CPR guidance?
Have you made sure that first aiders know the symptoms of COVID-19 so they can spot who might be infected?
Does people working more flexibly or from home lead to reduced first aider coverage?
Have your first aider qualifications lapsed? The Health and Safety Executive has guidance on when requalification needs to be completed by.
Are any of your first aiders classed vulnerable or at high risk from COVID-19 and need to pay extra attention to social distancing?
Risk assessments for new and expectant mothers
Employers should support those who are considered to be clinically vulnerable, which includes pregnant women, with being stringent in following the guidance on staying safe; this might mean adjusting work to help them do this. Have you updated your new and expectant mother risk assessment process to discuss COVID-19 when you’re notified of a pregnant employee?
If you have changed your cleaning products due to COVID-19, check whether you need to revise your COSHH risk assessments.
Do you need to tell users about new risks?
Do you need to provide training on the use of substances?
Do you need to provide any new PPE such as gloves or goggles to protect against irritants?
If you have manual handling risk assessments which call for dual or team lifting, a revised risk assessment should reflect how you are mitigating COVID-19 risks as far as practical.
If you are cohorting teams for dual or team handling, are you monitoring they are being adhered to?
If you have automated processes or provided handling aids to eliminate dual or team handling tasks, have you trained people in new systems of work?
Many employers have rearranged workplaces to support social distancing, but these measures might affect access to and use of a workplace.
Do one-way systems lead people to enter or exit a site via steps or a narrow doorway which some may not be able to use?
Do any changes to the use of toilets impact people with medical conditions who need access to a toilet quickly?
Are there restrictions on your passenger lifts which might affect people who are unable to use stairs?
Has adding more cycling racks impacted circulation routes for people who need wider access routes?
We know that COVID-19 is at the top of everyone’s list right now, however checking that your COVID-19 control measures do not create other hazards for people who may still be going to work, is equally essential to keep workplaces usable and safe
If you need any help or have any queries about ANY type of risk assessment, get in touch.