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Health and safetySeptember 2, 2020
COVID-19 has changed the world. Has your business changed with it? Preparing your business and your workplace for the new realities of COVID-19 will be essential, now and for the long term.
Under health and safety legislation you must ensure the health and safety of your workers, employees and others at the workplace, as far as is reasonably practicable. This includes ensuring minimising the risk workers and others at the workplace have of contracting COVID-19.
At all Alert Levels, businesses should have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place to protect their workforce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 as part of their management of health and safety risks.
Employsure is able to assist you in creating and implementing a COVID-19 Safety Plan. This article will hopefully answer some outstanding questions you may have.
Before putting together a plan, refer to official advice and directions regarding COVID-19. This includes advice from the Government, Ministry of Health and any specific regional or industry advice. These authorities will have some guidelines as to what your obligations are as a business owner.
It is also part of your health and safety obligations to consult with your employees or workers for each stage of developing your COVID Safety Plan. Consultation involves giving your employees and workers a genuine opportunity to shape the health and safety decisions you make and can include
Ask yourself a series of questions, relating to your workers and how they may interact with each other and members of the public. In doing so, you can ascertain the risks of COVID-19 transmission between workers, or between the public and your workers.
For example, ask yourself:
Other important elements to consider if your business’s physical layout may make it difficult for staff or visitors to maintain social distancing, and the current health and safety measures you have in place.
The COVID Safety Planning Pack has an Assessment Tool included within it that can greatly assist you during this step.
Assess the risks you’ve identified as high, medium, or low based on their likelihood of occurring and the severity of the consequences.
Having established the risks to your business, now you should go through how you will control the risks in your workplace. You can categorise the risks, for example, like so:
By going through these categories, and controlling the aspects of each, you can better control the risks of COVID-19 transmission in your workplace.
Once you’ve controlled the risks, you must implement your safety plan. If you need assistance with signs and posters to display your safety plan to others, download our COVID Safety Planning Pack below.
An important element to also include is reviewing your plan, Employsure recommends you go through these steps regularly to ensure your workplace is as COVID-safe as possible. The frequency of reviewing your plan will depend on the nature of the hazards and risks unique to your business.
By now, all business owners probably understand the basics of how COVID-19 is transmitted, and what the main recommendations are to limit the spread. As a refresher, the Government’s “golden rules” for businesses at Alert Level 2 are:
Other things to consider are the provision of PPE (including masks) to employees, and having signs and posters around the workplace to remind staff and visitors of the risks of COVID-19.
If you’d like more information on how to become a ‘COVID Safe’ business, why not download our FREE COVID-19 Safety Planning Pack?
While you can’t become 100% COVID safe, this pack can help you set up your business to reduce the risks from COVID-19. It will also give you peace-of-mind that you are getting the fundamentals right.