As we start the journey into 2021, hopefully we can all start to plan for what the post pandemic will look like. With the national vaccination programme for COVID-19 now underway, now is the time for businesses to shift their mindset from crisis response to active recovery. With that being said, you need to ensure that you don’t let your defences down and continue to operate a COVID-19 secure business in 2021.
I suppose the biggest question we all have is will the COVID-19 vaccine allow us to return to what we all consider normal working conditions? Only time will tell but until we are informed otherwise, we need to ensure that we are carrying on with the measures we have had in place such as social distancing, face coverings, sanitising and when required isolating to ensure the safety of you and your colleagues.
The approach of many businesses throughout 2020 will have been fully focused on COVID-19. The reality is that to enable us to enter this process of recovery, you’ll need to ensure that all the other potential risks to the business are reviewed which may have fallen by the wayside over the last 12 months.
Health and Safety policy
The first thing you need to ensure is that the health and safety policy is reviewed on an annual basis. This is a legal requirement under the health and safety work act etc 1974 for businesses with more than 5 employees.
The most popular words of 2020 could be possibly be “COVID-19 risk assessment” or the “new normal”, but all joking aside, we need to ensure that all your other risk assessments are reviewed which is an annual requirement. The way you do activities may have changed so we need to ensure these are up to date and reflect the way you now carry out our day-to-day roles ensuring you are as safe as possible.
Many businesses have struggled to get employees onto training courses, both online and indeed face-to-face. Planning the training requirements for the year ahead and booking employees onto relevant courses can start to mend the training gaps that may have appeared throughout 2020.
“Work from home “is the current guidance where possible, so you may not be spending time in the office or your normal workplace. It needs to be ensured that workplace inspections are carried out when safe to do so to ensure the safety of your workplace when employees start to return.
Businesses need to ensure that all fire alarms, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers have been checked, tested and serviced to ensure they are in good working condition. With offices being left empty, the weekly and monthly testing schedules may again have fallen by the wayside so this needs to be carried out to ensure the safety of your employees.
If you would like some further advice, please contact our health and safety team on 01302 341 344.
By Aaron Moxam – Risk Consultant