How do you carry out a risk assessment for the COVID-19 virus?


Strange Times

It is unusual, to say the least, to be asked in a workplace setting to carry out a risk assessment for a disease that is prevalent in the community.

After all, most workplaces don’t carry out risk assessments for seasonal flu.

However, as everyone keeps saying, the situation is ‘unprecedented’ (that’s different from Donald Trump who we’re hoping will be un-presidented sometime soon).

However, organisations clearly have a duty to play their part in reducing the spread of this disease.

It is a massive challenge in workplaces that normally would encourage mixing and communicating between work colleagues.

For years, the concern has been that technology is slowly driving us apart. Now that has been turned around and technology (Zoom etc.) is keeping us together whilst person-to-person close contact is discouraged.

Help! – OK …

After an initial hiatus where no guidance was available, clearly everyone has been locked down writing this stuff as it’s all come out at once!

Bodies from HSE, Government, Trade Unions, Trade Bodies have all come up with useful steers on what employers can do, and we (you) can use these guidance documents to carry out a risk assessment, given the right tools to do so.

‘Just Health and Safety’ (us) have also been busy working on developing online risk assessment forms for the last couple of years. In this case, it not only helps clients, but might save us from going in and breathing in their virus-laden air ?

In the current spirit of offering something for free anyone who wants to carry out a risk assessment can do so by clicking the link below (without prejudice …it is free, after all).

Quick Hints (if you’ve got time)

Before you enthusiastically get started on your risk assessment, just a quick note of caution (and a few hints)

We have tried to make it easy to risk assess by including ready-made sentences that you can just tick to include (if they’re true, of course)

Despite this we have noticed that those who are not familiar with the language of risk assessment can still find this challenging.

When people see a box to tick, there seems to be 2 responses – tick everything madly, or don’t tick anything at all.

Our main advice is…. take it slowly!

This is the lockdown phase where many people don’t have to pretend that they were so busy that they couldn’t spare the time to read properly.

What you should be doing is carefully reading each sentence, considering it in relation to your working situation, then ticking the box next to it if it’s true.

For those that don’t like things to be made easy, just ignore our suggestions and write away in the ‘free-text’ areas…we won’t sulk, much.

When you put in the context of the transmission of a potentially deadly virus you can see how careful consideration of each control you put in place is probably be worth the extra time.

One nice thing about risk assessing the virus is that it makes all the needless scoring of risk completely redundant…. how do you score ‘Likelihood’ now, complexity-lovers?!

Please click the link below to start your risk assessment – we have made this available until the end of July 2020:

COVID-19 Risk Assessment