Coronavirus: How to conduct a workplace risk assessment ISO 45001

May 28th, 2020 By Marketing

Covid-19, or Coronavirus, has undeniably taken the world by storm since the end of 2019. With the total number of cases around the world rising above 2 million (at the time of writing), and with increasing numbers of new cases announced each day, it is essential that companies turn to how they can protect their employees.

While the outbreak and escalation of the virus has urged many businesses to set up their employees to work from home, those that still require workers to enter their premises must have a solid risk assessment in place.

To give a deeper understanding of how best to conduct a risk assessment in your company, we have put together some guidance and advice to protect you and your employees.

Follow risk assessment procedures

This may sound simplistic, but you can follow the same risk assessment template, whilst bearing in mind the particularities of a virus outbreak. Namely, the following:

  • Identify what the hazards are and the risk this poses to your business.
  • Highlight who exactly will be affected by these risks. In this case, do you have any employees who are considered a “high risk” for the virus?
  • Analyse these risks, and assess their severity. What is the best way to control these? Deeper cleaning? PPE? Working from home?
  • Ensure to have a record of this, and that this has been read by every employee.
  • Continually review this document, updating it as the virus situation changes.

Make hygiene your number 1 priority

It is extremely important, specifically during this pandemic, to have a dedicated focus to hygiene in the workplace. There are several things to consider in this regard:

  • Do you have enough supplies to cater for your business? Think soap, tissues, hand sanitiser.
  • It is worth changing your hygiene procedures during this time, to ensure that, for example, all employees, contractors or anyone entering the premises wash their hands immediately on arrival.
  • Work with your workplace cleaners to come to the best possible hygiene routine for you and your employees, and enhance these procedures

Account for staff on site

While you may be aware of your particular members of staff, who else do you have entering and leaving the site?

  • Do you have contractors entering the premises? What about support staff, such as catering? It is essential to ensure consistency of policies and procedures across core employees, and anyone that comes into contact with your business.
  • The government has mandated against all but necessary travel. Make sure to reassess current travel arrangements in accordance with this, and mitigate any risk to exposure that your employees may encounter.
  • The most ideal situation is to have all employees working from home, but this is of course not appropriate for certain occupations. Yet, it is crucial to allow members of staff to work from home where possible, and ensure that they have the tools and resources in place to do so.

Communicate with your employees

In these uncertain times, and with different information diffusing from both reliable and unreliable sources, it can be a very confusing and anxious time for any employee. It is essential that you, as an employer, provide a clear and comprehensive line of communication, and have a consistent approach to governmental advice and company procedure.

  • Make sure to educate employees on the current status of the virus, and provide them with guidance on how best to reduce its spread.
  • Be transparent and open on how you as a company are dealing with the virus, and update this as appropriate.
  • You could even provide mandatory training to employees on how best to mitigate risk.
  • Circulate accredited advice, for example on your personal intranet, your newsletter, and even social media.
  • Update employees and deliver reports on any changes, as you monitor the news and government guidelines.
  • Explain any changes to sick leave, and ensure that they have read and understood this.

Get ISO 45001 certified

To ensure that you are best equipped to manage the risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak, as well as any future risk assessment conducted by your organisation, the ISO45001 certification provides a fantastic foundation. The standard ensures that companies have measures in place enabling them to reduce risks to Health and Safety in the workplace. Not only does it prevent your employees from being in harm’s way, it can certainly benefit your profitability also.

You should now be ready to install best risk assessment practice in response to the current outbreak. Interested in finding out more about ISO45001? You can get a free copy of our ISO45001 guide here. If you are interested in attaining the ISO45001 certification to mitigate future risk in your organisation, you can request a free consultation and quotation with us here.

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