Business Resumption Consultants
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hit business hard and resulted in immeasurable personal tragedy. It is universally acknowledged that there will have to be a new ‘normal’ when lockdown is eased, so how can you balance the need to return to work with keeping your employees and others safe? Our experts are keeping abreast of daily briefings, regulatory position statements, and industry body guidance ensuring that our advice reflects the most current UK Government guidance.
As you plan your Business Resumption, it’s important that you address the concerns of your people and your clients as they come to terms with the new systems and patterns of both work and home life, whilst continuing to address your legal obligations. This period of business review and renewal provides an opportunity to optimise your practices for the new ways of working.
Delta-Simons’ is working with a range of businesses, from global tech companies to local SME’s and has the experience to either lead you through this process with a dedicated Business Resumption Plan or to provide an independent third party review of the plans you have produced.
Either of these routes will provide you with the support you need from our expert team to ensure that you have the required Risk Assessment in place.
Business Resumption Planning – Your Return to Work Strategy
The Business Resumption Planning process starts with a gap analysis including a remotely conducted review of business operations, the ongoing risks posed by COVID-19 when returning to the workplace and specific considerations that must be made.
Beginning with a screening questionnaire, our technical consultants will work with you to undertake a gap analysis, produce an individual COVID-19 Business Resumption Risk Assessment and a Business Resumption Action Plan detailing the steps to take to resume operations in the uncertain future we face.
Is your resumption Risk Assessment ready?
Employers have a duty to assess and manage risks to safety in the workplace, including the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The first step is to undertake a thorough risk assessment to identify and formulate effective control measures, taking into account current UK Government advice and best practice. Delta-Simons can assist in the preparation of these risk assessments or review risk assessments you have produced yourself. Our team of EHS professionals is experienced at preparing and reviewing risk assessments and a fresh pair of eyes often identifies additional risks and control measures you might not have considered.
Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy
On 11th May the UK Government published Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy a 60-page document setting out the strategy to open up the UK from lockdown on a phased basis.
This was followed by Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), a series of 8 guides giving industry some practical guidance on areas which require assessment and control, including access and egress to the workplace, maintaining social distancing and staggering shifts.
Both the strategy and sector specific guidance reinforce the fact that employers have a duty to assess and manage risks to safety in the workplace, including the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Services we offer
In addition to the legal responsibilities, the well-being of staff is key to the success of any business. Many people have been directly affected by the pandemic and everyone’s way of life has been impacted. This has led to a range of challenges, including increased worry around physical wellbeing, mental health and that of their families and friends. As an employer, you want to be sure that these concerns are addressed enabling people to return to work feeling confident, healthy and supported.
Legislation around health, safety, wellbeing and environment has remained in force during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just because some of your employees are no longer in the workplace does not mean that you do not have responsibilities to fulfil, including statutory inspection and test requirements. You will also need to consider how you deal with suppliers, contractors, customers and members of the public. Relevant legal requirements include:
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is the principal piece of UK legislation that details employer’s workplace health and safety duties. The general requirement to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your employees extends outside of the regular workplace.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to ensure all work activities are suitably risk assessed and sufficient control measures are put in place to reduce the risk to as low as reasonably practicable. Control measures include social distancing and redesign of work activities and the workplace.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the principal fire safety legislation in England and Wales. In the event of a fire and evacuation, ensuring social distancing may not be the top priority. However, with reduced staff numbers do you have enough competent employees to ensure your fire precautions are maintained?
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires employers to provide a workplace with welfare facilities which is capable of being kept clean and includes provision of adequate ventilation, lighting, sanitary conveniences and washing facilities.
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 requires employers to provide suitable first aid provision, including materials, equipment and facilities. This includes maintaining sufficient numbers of trained first aid personnel, including during period where headcount may be decreased.
There are many more legal requirements which apply to employers, depending on your business activities, substances and work equipment that you use.
Some sectors have embraced the technologies that have enabled work to continue remotely through the lockdown period. But while your employees are not in their usual physical workplace, your legal duties and responsibilities as an employer continue.
Not every home is entirely suitable for remote working. Additionally, employees have different personal home lives which require consideration. Employers and employees must make the best of the situation while ensuring that the employee is kept safe and healthy through careful consideration of:
• Working environment
• Provision of suitable work equipment
• Ergonomic concerns
• Lone working and employee welfare issues
Even while your premises are not being fully used, or in many cases not open at all, your legal duties do not disappear. You must ensure that your premises are kept in a suitable and secure state, doing what you can to prevent arson, vandalism and intruders.
Keeping the workplace and utilities in a fit state to resume operations will help. Flushing of the hot and cold water pipework will likely be needed after a long period of being unoccupied, to reduce risks from Legionella.
The HSE expects statutory inspection and test for equipment including pressure systems and lifting equipment to continue, despite the challenges in maintaining social distancing with inspecting engineers.
Landlords may wish to take a proactive approach to manage tenant activities. Where tenants are breaching environmental legislation and landlords are aware of these unlawful breaches and do not act, they may be prosecuted as a ‘knowing permitter’.
Cleaning of the workplace should take place prior to reoccupation and between shifts to reduce the potential for virus transmission
Whether your business operates from a single site, or you are a multi-national corporation, Delta-Simons recommend a similar staged approach for assessing your current working arrangements and developing an action plan for phased return to work. Our support offerings are tailored to the scale and complexity of your business.
If you'd like to speak to someone about how to do business during the COVID-19 pandemic and your responsibilities as an employer, contact our team of EHS specialists on email@example.com