As national COVID-19 restrictions are gradually eased many workplaces are looking to reopen or are operating a little differently to normal.
Below we have put together a list of key considerations you should take into account in order to go back to work and reopen safely. We've also put together a bank of downloadable and printable resources to help you with this.
You are required by law to complete a risk assessment. Your risk assessment must include a regular review of your first aid needs, which should be reviewed at least once every 12 months.
You should update your risk assessment to include how you will manage the risk of COVID-19. You will need to ensure you have updated your risk assessment to reflect the current situation and determine what additional measures you may need to put in place to safeguard your employees and any visiting members of the public.
Some key areas you should consider are:
Transmission - What work activities or situations could cause transmission of COVID-19?
People - Do you have members of your workforce, or visiting public, that could be more at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?
Exposure - How likely could someone be exposed to the virus at your workplace?
Control - Can you stop any activities to prevent transmission? If not, what can you do to control the risks?
How to complete a risk assessment
The Health and Safety Executive currently require you to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment to help you manage risks and protect your employees and others during the pandemic. Find out what you need to consider when assessing first aid needs and what you need to include in your COVID-19 risk assessment by reading our guide.
Do you have the right first aid, fire marshal and mental health provisions in place?
It's important you ensure that:
there is appropriate first aid cover for employees and visitors in the event of an accident or emergency
there are enough fire marshals and sufficient fire safety cover at all times
you have taken into account your employee mental health and wellbeing
The number of first aiders and fire marshals you need to safeguard your employees should be led by your risk assessment (for more information, please see above).
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, your workplace first aiders and fire marshals may have missed essential re-qualification courses. Which means that when you reopen and go back to work, your first aiders and fire marshals may not have had their skills refreshed or assessed in over three years. This is particularly important as first aiders need training in new or changed skills due to COVID-19, for example, there is renewed guidance on carrying out primary surveys and resuscitation.
If you have changed the way your business operates due to COVID-19, e.g. by separating work areas into bubbles or changing shift patterns to enable social distancing in workplaces, this will mean more first aiders in total will be required.
To help you ensure you've got all your training covered, we've put together some questions below.
Do you have all the necessary first aid supplies and equipment and are they ready for use?
It's important that your first aid supplies such as your first aid kits, defibrillators, evacuation chairs and fire extinguishers are ready to use.
As many organisations across the country have been away from the workplace during the national lockdown, items may have expired or may not have been inspected in some time.
To help you know what to check to reopen safely, we've put together the questions below to make sure all of your supplies are unexpired, fully stocked and inspected so they can be used in the event of an emergency. Alternatively, you can download our checklist.
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