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Reopening businesses after COVID-19 – risk assessments for returning to work and reopening buildings

With a phased return to the workplace expected to take place for many of us over the coming weeks and months, now is the time for businesses and organisations to make sure they have an effective COVID-19 risk assessment strategy in place.

The UK Government has this week released it’s ‘roadmap’ to lifting the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which includes guidance for people to return to work if they are unable to work from home (read in full here: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy).

While the immediate reaction for many business owners may be to get back to “business as usual” as soon as possible, it is likely that the ability for many businesses to begin trading again will be conditional on having a detailed and actionable plan for minimising the risk of contraction of COVID-19.

Strict controls will need to be in place to protect your employees, customers, suppliers and the general public for quite some time – which will include social distancing measures, regular hand-washing, the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) where required, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, symptom tracking and so on.

There are also health and safety considerations to be taken regarding re-opening workplaces that have been closed for a prolonged period during lockdown. This includes reviewing your current protocols around staffing and personnel, your operating procedures and policies, the training you provide to staff, changing delivery arrangements from suppliers and much more.

To help businesses with this process, we have put together the below risk assessment documents. There is a ‘generic’ risk assessment document detailing an actionable plan for dealing with the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, as well as a more specific Business Recovery and Re-opening Risk Assessment.

Please note that the below documents are general in nature and are not likely to cover all potential scenarios for every business. Much more specific risk assessments may be required for your particular business, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more specific risk management advice.

 

COVID-19 – General Workplace Risk Assessment

This deals with managing the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the workplace, and provides a clear and detailed action plan for establishing new processes on:

  • Social distancing
  • Hand-washing
  • Cleaning
  • The use of PPE
  • Dealing with COVID-19 symptoms
  • Managing mental health and promoting wellbeing

Download the risk assessment template for free here: COVID-19 – General Workplace Risk Assessment

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Business Recovery/Reopening – Health, Safety & Fire Checklist/Risk Assessment

This more specific risk assessment provides a clear guide to what businesses need to take into account when re-opening premises following a prolonged shutdown.

This includes management of risks associated with:

  • Staff and personnel
  • Operating procedures and policies
  • Training
  • Social distancing
  • Preventing the spread of COVID-19
  • Health, safety and fire compliance
  • Safe Systems of Work (SSWs), Safe Working Practices (SWPs), Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Download the risk assessment template for free here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Business Recovery/Re-opening – Health, Safety & Fire Checklist/Risk Assessment