118. Are you really ready to return to your workplace?

Many businesses are finding the restrictions imposed to manage COVID-19 an increasing challenge.

Whilst your focus is clearly on retaining customers and maintaining trading; you must also prepare to return to your workplace.

It may not be uppermost in your mind that your insurers will expect businesses to be, and continue to remain, compliant with existing legal obligations – specifically the duty imposed on all employers by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and others affected by their operations.

To demonstrate this duty of care has been fulfilled, employers must be able to evidence the actions taken to control the risks to health, safety and welfare.  In other words, that the balance between the benefits of risk reduction on the one hand, outweigh the time, effort and cost of the control measures on the other.

You should carry out a Risk Assessment which must clearly show that, on the balance of all considerations, the controls implemented reduce the risk to as low a level as reasonably practicable.

This evidence will be crucial in the defence of an insurance claim for personal injury or illness or responding to an intervention by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or other regulatory authority.

The financial consequences of COVID-19 are also far reaching, with forecasts suggesting the UK economy is heading towards a major recession. The pressures on a business, its directors, officers, shareholders and stakeholders to return to profitability, while maintaining health and safety compliance, will be extremely challenging.

If it is rushed, or not fully understood or properly implemented, there will be further problems for the business.

So, what is the best way for a business to ensure that its risk assessment for working or returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic is fit for purpose?

Here is one solution that is proving very popular:

For a one-off fee of £450 plus VAT, a Gallagher Risk Management Solutions’ health and safety consultant will arrange a conference or video call to get under the skin of your business before undertaking an independent, professional review of your COVID-19 Risk Assessment against existing legislation, COVID-19 guidance and protocols.

Where your risk assessment document is considered suitable and sufficient it will be validated by the health and safety consultant.

And if the COVID-19 risk assessment is not considered suitable or sufficient (and 71% of those reviewed so far are not*), the consultant will provide a brief, high level summary of the areas requiring improvement.

Having a validated and successfully implemented COVID-19 risk assessment will enhance your mitigation and defence should a COVID-19 incident occur at your workplace.

Clearly not all businesses have the in-house competency, capability or expertise to carry out the risk assessment and may require further help.

So, for an additional fee of £300 plus VAT, your Gallagher health and safety consultant will tell you very specifically, which areas to focus on with suggestions to assist you with the completion of your risk assessment.

* Having undertaken a number of reviews up to the 15th June, Gallagher have reported that 71% of the risk assessments and plans reviewed ready for return to work were not fit for purpose and were in need of attention.

In summary:

Validation Service – Audit and Validation of your COVID-19 Risk Assessment against existing legislation, COVID-19 guidance & protocols.                                                               £450+ VAT

Additional consultancy – Consultancy to achieve validation to develop your COVID-19 Risk Assessment to achieve validation.                                                                                      £300+ VAT

Gallagher’s Teniel Haslam can be contacted on:

01494 430176 or 07458 056 584

Or email: teniel_haslam@ajg.com


About Tectona

Tectona Partnership helps business owners sleep at night by embedding one of our 15 commercially minded CFOs in your management team. Very often, a part time CFO is the most effective solution for smaller businesses.

We make sure you have the necessary management information and strategic insight to make informed decisions. We will tell you (bluntly, if necessary) what you need to know, when you need to know it.

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