What to do if you don’t know how to write a COVID risk assessment?

Every business owner needs to know how to do a COVID risk assessment to keep everyone who comes into their business safe.  Small business owners don’t  always write them down and legally you don’t have to unless you have more than 5 employees.

However best practice says you should write down your COVID risk assessment regardless of the size of your business. You will then have evidence that you have thought about the risks and put things in place in case something goes wrong.  Simply put it’s what you do in your business every day.

So where do you start?

Putting a simple COVID risk assessment together:

Follow these simple steps when putting a risk assessment together:

  1. Think about the hazard that could cause harm? For COVID it’s  the transmission of the coronavirus.
  2. Who is likely to be harmed and how? staff, customers or visitors who could get COVID 19 and could cause them serious illness or death.
  3. Consider what controls you can put in place to minimize or control the risk? Try and eliminate the risk but if this isn’t possible put controls in place. For Covid it could be social distancing, increased ventilation or cleaning of hand contact surfaces.

Once the risk assessment is complete you should then work out if they are any more controls you could put in place to further minimize the risk. Also write down who will do this and when.

My top tips:

  1. Use a template BUT don’t just copy and paste from someone else’s risk assessment. Templates can be found on the HSE website or you could download my risk assessment template by signing up on my website Home Page
  2. Follow your customer, staff and visitor’s journey (e.g. delivery drivers) from when they enter the premises to when they leave.
  3. If you are a multi-site business think about site specific controls for each unit/site as well as a generic COVID risk assessment for the business
  4. Always consult with staff on what could go wrong as they will know better than anyone else and share the risk assessment with them
  5. Make sure you and your staff follow your risk assessment and make changes when necessary
  6. Don’t use complicated jargon or language or make it too wordy and long. It should be concise and easy to read and preferably accessible in a paper format and online.
  7. Review your risk assessment when something changes. Also put 6 monthly review dates in your diary to make sure reviews happen regularly.

COVID Risk Assessment Pre-requisite controls

Pre-requisites are the controls that most businesses will need to consider when writing their risk assessment:

  1. A Covid Staff sickness procedure
  2. A working from home procedure
  3. Ventilation
  4. Disinfection and cleaning
  5. Handwashing
  6. Social Distancing
  7. Capacity – number of staff and customers who can safely be in the premises at any one time
  8. Staff cohorts and bubbles
  9. Opening and closing times
  10. signage
  11. A QR code (if applicable)

COVID risk assessment specific controls

These will depend on your premises and business type. Follow the government guidance on Working Safely during coronavirus for the sector you are working in. You may need to follow more than one set of guidance depending on what you do. These documents give you examples of controls which may apply to your business. Only use the ones that fit what you are actually doing and add in any new one’s of your own if necessary.

What will happen if something goes wrong?

If there is an outbreak of coronavirus or a complaint then you may be investigated by a regulatory officer (as well as by Track and Trace if necessary) who could take enforcement action. You may be served with an improvement or prohibition notice or prosecuted and fined.

If you need any further help with your COVID risk assessment CONTACT ME for an informal chat.

 

 

 

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