The Government has issued strict isolation guidance in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.
The main crux of the advice is to stay at home, we are also advised that you can travel for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.
So what does this mean for employers that have a workforce, or part of the workforce, that cannot work from home? It is estimated that there are millions of workers in the UK that cannot perform normal duties from home and will have to travel to work during the pandemic.
Health and safety at work during coronavirus pandemic
Many of our clients work in front line services, and other areas such as retail, the manufacturing and engineering sector, property management and financial services, and although they are operating in unprecedented times, employers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 still have a duty to protect their employees.
Although the Government and NHS advice regarding hygiene and social distancing is clear, applying it within the work setting can be problematic, and may create hazards that were not a consideration prior to the covid19 pandemic.
Unison have issued a statement that advises that risk assessments must be undertaken for work activities that cannot be undertaken from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘If working from home isn’t an option then your employer should undertake a risk assessment to identify any additional steps they need to take, such as re-allocating some of your duties or providing you with additional personal protective equipment'
Statutory and essential building maintenance during the coronavirus pandemic
Landlords and Property Management companies must make every effort to ensure compliance across their portfolios during the pandemic.
Statutory and essential maintenance such as gas checks, electrical installation tests, fire system checks, water systems, pressure vessel and lift insurance inspections must, in most circumstances, continue to be undertaken.
Gas checks during the coronavirus lockdown
The Gas Safe Register have issued specific covid19 advice re: gas checks and working practices
Passengers lifts and boilers during the covid19 lockdown
The HSE has provided guidance on Pressure Systems and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment.
Safe management of water systems in buildings during the covid19 outbreak
The legionella Control Association have provided advice on maintaining water systems and water hygiene during the coronavirus pandemic.
Electrical equipment testing during the coronavirus lockdown
The NICEIC don’t appear to have any advice for those with a legal obligation to carry out electrical safety tests, but have produced a coronavirus FAQ sheet.
Calico Compliance is responding and helping during the coronavirus pandemic
We continue to support businesses through these unforeseen circumstances by undertaking risk assessments, allowing employers to make decisions on what work can continue and how it can be done safely. We are also advising companies on property compliance schedules and how building owners and managers can keep sites compliant without putting employees, engineers and residents at risk. We are creating and revising health and safety policies and procedures, and in some cases, delivering remote training to ensure that employees are educated on new working practices.
Risk assessing coronavirus in the workplace
Below is a snap shot of the issues that we have identified whilst undertaking coronavirus job interruption risk assessments:
· Hygiene – can sufficient hand washing facilities be provided and can they be used with the two meter distancing rule.
· Reducing employee numbers - is it possible to divide staff across different parts of the business into an A and B team where one will stay home while the other will continue to work.
· Property compliance – can you maintain compliance if your engineering providers are suffering shortages in their own resources, can you focus resource/expertise on higher risk equipment or in premises where the most vulnerable are located.
· Increased risk of legionella – with so many buildings shut down and not in use there is a higher potential of legionnaires disease , can an enhanced water treatment regime be implemented before and upon reoccupation.
· Shared vehicles – can jobs that require more than one person travelling in a vehicle be broken down, can you use workers who are located closer to the area where the job is taking place to reduce co-worker travel.
· Employee breaks – can staff still receive the legal amount of breaks by implementing staggered lunch and coffee breaks as to ensure the 2 meter rule and to minimise crowds.
· Sharing equipment - sharing is not just confined to tools, standard items such as telephones and PC’s are often shared. Can adequate cleaning materials be provided or can work be arranged so that equipment is not shared by reallocating tasks, changing work locations, staff using their own mobile phones and iPads.
· Deliveries to site – can delivery drivers stay within their vehicles and not use on site facilities.
· Personal protective equipment – can work tasks be undertaken safely with newly introduced PPE such as latex gloves and masks.
· Tasks requiring more than one person – can heavy lifting tasks that require more than one person be altered during the pandemic, can loads be broken down and made lighter.
Calico Compliance is committed to supporting employers, building owners and the wider community through the Coronavirus crisis.
We are offering a free 10 minute telephone consultation for employers and those responsible for managing properties, please drop us an email on email@example.com to arrange this.
Alternatively, drop us an email if you’d like to receive up to date email advice through firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible to help keep your companies and buildings operating safely and effectively during this pandemic and beyond.
From London to Sydney and everywhere in between - What are the key ingredients for a successful international management system ?
Most countries impose a duty of care on employers, and one big reason multinationals launch global health and safety initiatives is to comply with this duty.
We have hands on experience and know the benefits and challenges of implementing international management systems. We have supported a range of international organisations with developing safety and environmental management systems to cover premises and work activities outside of the UK.
We have found that clients with experience in implementing other global initiatives across their business already have many of the tools to successfully implement a global safety or environmental management system.
We know that management systems such as ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 provide a good framework for global initiatives. It’s not impossible to go global without an accredited management system but it sure makes it a whole lot easier, especially now that OHSAS 18001 has been revised to the more current and contemporary ISO 45001 framework.
We help companies navigate their way through the different legislative obligations within the various jurisdictions in which they operate by providing global legal registers and undertaking international compliance reviews, both imperative for maintaining compliance on an international scale.
We advise businesses enlisting our help to consider not only the company culture, but also the regional culture and practice which can vary greatly, even from territory to territory within the same country.
Legal and social security frameworks, local political contexts and differences in risk perceptions can make it more difficult to shape a uniformed approach and positive culture.
Global companies face challenges not faced by organisations that operate in one country. Having supported international companies we have identified a number of common factors to help businesses achieve effective safety and environmental management no matter where they operate.
Developing a transparent and unambiguous strategy against which company health, safety environmental objectives can be anchored. This gives the workforce a common goal and encourages collaboration and consistency.
The second key ingredient to a successful global management system is flexibility, detailing what needs to be done but allowing the how to be determined at a more local level. This approach also promotes employee engagement and ownership.
We have found that visible, decisive and motivational leadership is always received positively regardless of nationality and is a consistent driver for good health, safety and environmental performance.
If you need any support with international safety or environmental management get in touch
08000 49 94 18
We have a range of services that help businesses with international health, safety and environmental compliance.