Remember your non-COVID hazards
With many businesses now returning to work in one form or another after months of lockdown, it is right that managers and owners have spent much time recently ensuring that their business is as safe as possible to open from the threat of COVID-19. Being, as the Government call it, "Covid-19 Secure" is, rightly a must.
But while ensuring the risk from coronavirus is managed and controlled, businesses must not forget the other hazards and risks that their activities create.
Some machinery or equipment may not have been used for four months. Operatives may not have used it.
Make sure that you do thorough checks on all equipment too make sure they are all working correctly, lubricated and not damaged. The operatives may be rusty in using the equipment. Make sure they are properly trained or retrained, and supervised.
Drivers may not have been on your lorry, van or fork lift truck for months. Any driving they may have done will be in their own vehicle on quiet roads. Monitor their driving now that the roads are busier and they are back out there.
Remember training certificates may have expired during lockdown. Some extensions may have been made, for example to first aid renewals, but courses that have expired must be renewed by 30th September 2020.
It should also be noted that some measures introduced due to COVID-19 may affect some risk assessments or procedures. A prime example relates to fire evacuation. If you have introduced a one way system, ensure everyone knows that it does not apply if the fire alarm sounds, and you must go to your nearest safe exit.
Also, if you have staff on furlough or self isolating, are they fire marshals or first aiders? Have you enough cover?
Similarly, if you use specialist PPE for a task, but are struggling to get hold of it, don't make that an excuse to work without it. Delay, stop or change to a safer method of working.
So you may now have made your business COVID-19 Secure, but make sure all your other systems work with the new measures you have in place. Health and Safety is not just a measure to protect against a virus. It is to protect us from all hazards at work.