Moving Forwards, Staying Safe

Some helpful information as lockdown begins to ease and businesses start to return to work.

Posted on 11th June 2020 Tagged in Personal Lines Commercial Lines Niche & Non-Standard Schemes
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Businesses are starting to re-open. As they do, it will be important to follow the government’s guidance on helping employees and customers or suppliers to stay safe. 

We’d like to help by offering this short overview that will provide you with access to relevant guidance for you to feel informed and in turn be able to support your clients. 

Where to find government guidance

The government has published its detailed guidance online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.  

There are several guides available, explaining how business owners can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The basics include regular cleaning and careful control of working practices that support social distancing, it is important to note that employers may need to follow more than one piece of that guidance to protect themselves, their customers, suppliers, and workforce.

Making it easy to understand what’s involved

Opportunity for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus between people needs to be minimised. Each business owner will need to work out what that means for them and the most appropriate actions they can take, depending on how their business operates and from where. As an overview, these actions fall into eight categories. Employers will need to work through them, making the decisions that will protect people’s health and safety best:

1. Mitigating the risk of spreading the virus

  • Enabling employees to work from home if possible
  • Limiting the number of employees at the premises at any one time
  • Regular cleaning regimes for hands and surfaces
  • Avoiding face to face contact

2. Making it possible to maintain social distancing

  • Staggering employee arrival/departure times or working in shifts
  • Using floor markings and creating one-way systems in buildings
  • Reducing job/equipment rotation in the workforce
  • Employees working side by side rather than face to face
  • Limiting meetings to necessary personnel – conducting them online if possible
  • Staggering break times
  • Closing staff canteens, encouraging packed lunches

3. Minimising third party contact

  • Eliminating unnecessary visits
  • Completing servicing/maintenance out of working hours
  • Making clear guidance on social distancing available for visitors

 4. Cleaning the workplace thoroughly

  • Doing a deep clean of the workplace before re-opening
  • Cleaning work areas and equipment frequently, especially where shared equipment is involved
  • More frequently cleaning objects and surfaces that are touched often more
  • Clearing workspaces at the ends of shifts
  • Reminding employees about good hygiene throughout the working day
  • Providing hand sanitizers, and disposable paper towels or air blowers to dry hands

 5. Managing the workforce effectively

  • Providing clear, consistent, and regular communications for employees
  • Creating distinct working groups to reduce the amount of personal contact
  • Finding ways for people to pass items to each other more safely
  • Avoiding unnecessary travel, limiting the number of people in each vehicle
  • Consistent pairing where 2-person activities (such as deliveries) are required
  • Engaging with workers to explain and agree any changes
  • Remembering the importance of employees’ mental health

 6. Making appropriate changes to retail premises

  • Working out how many people can reasonably come into the premises while still following social distancing guidelines
  • Encouraging customers to avoid handling products
  • Suspending or reducing services that can’t be taken up without breaching social distancing guidelines
  • Putting one-way systems in place, managing queues (inside and out), and encouraging customers to shop alone
  • Closing customer changing rooms
  • Making changes to the way returned goods are processed or handled
  • Installing screens by till areas

 7. Visiting customers at home

  • Avoiding face to face contact especially with vulnerable people by making prior arrangements about how, for example, to answer the door or how work will be carried out
  • Not working in a household where someone is isolating
  • Cleaning more regularly
  • Limiting the number of people travelling in one vehicle
  • Establish non-contact delivery procedures

 8. Working outdoors (construction sites etc)

  • Putting one-way systems in place for pedestrian routes around the workplace
  • Creating separate working zones on sites
  • Providing clear guidance for site visitors and workers on social distancing and site hygiene arrangements
  • Creating fixed working groups so that, if contact is unavoidable, it happens between the same people

Reporting under RIDDOR

COVID-19 is affecting us all. As businesses re-open, it’s important to remember that any virus-related incidents – situations where someone may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace, or tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting a workplace – must be reported under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). 

The Health and Safety Executive website has more guidance about the steps to take: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/riddor-reporting-coronavirus.htm 

Checking to make sure insurance remains effective

Many businesses will see long-term changes as a result of COVID-19. Working practices for many changed immediately as the UK restricted movements and imposed lockdown measures. Reviewing business insurance policies, as changes to standard working practices evolve, is important. Key policy areas to check include:

  • Range of business activities and occupations
  • Process changes
  • Changes in equipment and where it is used
  • Employee numbers and wage roll
  • Predicted turnover and income

Some businesses will have to change their processes slowly, but every employer will need to take action over the coming months. It’s never too early to check that insurance is in place, valid and the policy will provide the cover that’s needed.

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