How to carry out Covid risk assessment in the workplace.

One of the main functions of a responsible and responsive employer is to protect his/her employees from harm and discomfort in the workplace. This would include carrying out a risk assessment to determine what logical steps need to be carried out to protect workers and people around them from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

When Employers carry out a generic risk assessment, it is not likely to be specific or very detailed. For example, a not-so thorough risk assessment might not identify sufficient ventilation requirements or sufficient cleaning controls for certain areas and circumstances.

Risk assessment should reflect on the public health regulations and guidelines for the nation you are in.

Steps That Can Be Taken To Manage The Risk

As part of the process that can be taken for risk assessment, you should:

  1. Point out what work activity or circumstances might possibly result in the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  2. Due to job specification, think about who could be at risk – this could be  workers, visitors, contractors and delivery drivers
  3. Determine how likely it is for any worker to be exposed
  4. Identify the management needed to reduce the risk
  5. If you have just five to seven employees, you would not need to write anything down, but it might help if you write though.
  6. You should ensure you consider the risk to groups of workers who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19).
  7. When you are carrying out your assessment, you need to talk with your workers about the measures you would be considering. They can help in providing some valuable information on how you could reduce risks.
  8. You should put monitoring and supervision in place to make sure the controls you have are working as expected.

How to control risks

The HSE helped in providing guidance to employers to continue working safely and manage the risks associated with running their business at this time.

This includes practical measures they should take, including:

  1. The provision of adequate ventilation
  2. Carrying out sufficient cleaning
  3. Ensuring the strict observance of good hand hygiene

You need to discuss with your workforce on health and safety matters, talking to workers and their representatives would help in the reduction of risk.

You should also make sure that any controls you identify do not increase the risks.

None of these control measures would help them manage the spread of COVID-19 on their own. Your risk assessment should recognize a package of measures

Other measures that can be taken include;

  1. Assigning seating (for instance in offices) for specific teams, or using ‘cohorting’, ‘fixed teams’ or ‘partnering’, so each individual works with the same consistent group
  2. In cases where space and capacity is allowed, giving preference to back-to-back or side-to-side working between cohorts or fixed teams who don’t normally mix
  3. By using strong screens or barriers to separate people who don’t normally mix (for instance between workers and customers), note that screens are only likely to be helpful if they are placed between the two  people who come into close face-to-face proximity with each other, and may not be feasible between desks in a side-to-side office setting
  4. The provision of extra handwashing facilities, for instance, pop-ups. This should be done particularly on a large site, or where there is a significant number of personnel on-site
  5. Make sure your risk assessment comprises an up-to-date plan in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak.
  6. Ensure there is provision for Coronavirus Testing for Corporations and Coronavirus Testing for Businesses.
  7. Ensure you inform your local authority, public health team, if there is an outbreak at your workplace and ensure that the employee self isolates
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