With the majority of retail locations having opened their doors again throughout June, many are wondering what measures have been put in place for their safety. Is it going to be possible to social distance and how many staff members are actually going to put the measures into practise?
The measures that businesses are having to put in place are for the safety of their staff as well as their customers; but the challenge will be how many staff members consistently keep these measures in place or if they become complacent over time.
Conducting a specific COVID-19 on-site audit, will allow you to establish how your staff and customers are adapting to the measures you have put in place and if they are being followed. If your staff and customers are aware that these audits will periodically take place, they will feel more comfortable that their safety is important to you.
There are two options for specific COVID-19 On-Site Audits, the first being an external auditor carrying out regular covert on-site audits to assess against a specific criteria of COVID-19 measures that your business has put in place. The covert audit will identify if your staff are following the measures you have put in place and if they are still able to deliver good customer service to your customers. If your staff are struggling to follow the measures, the audits will identify what training may need to be put in place.
The second option is to pass the responsibility on to your staff and ask them to complete a daily self-assessment COVID-19 audit before they start work. The self-assessment audit can be completed via an app and will only take a few minutes to complete. The self-assessment will remind your staff on a daily basis of the measures you have put in place and to confirm they are following those measures.
The self-assessment will be designed specifically to your business and the measures you have put in place, which you expect your staff to follow. Passing this daily responsibility on to them will support with keeping the measures in place for a more consistent time frame.
COVID-19: Can employers be prosecuted if employees are exposed?
SHP has published a very good article to help all businesses navigate this health and safety concern. SHP are specialist in providing online health and safety news and advice in the UK, and recently published a very good article:
Extracts from the SHP published article: Amidst all the coronavirus headlines, some commentators have speculated that employers may be about to face prosecution if they don’t take all precautions possible to protect staff and third parties from infection. Paul Verrico, Partner and Sarah Valentine, Senior Associate, at Eversheds Sutherland, investigates whether that is the case. It is, of course, correct that employers in the UK owe duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of employees; such duties extending to the provision of a safe working environment to those affected and not to expose third parties to risk.
The reality of these unprecedented times is, however, that enforcement of such legislation in this context is a very unlikely outcome. Whilst the HSE have recently updated its guidance as to when COVID-19 cases will be reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) the likelihood is that few will satisfy the reasonable evidence criteria set out by the HSE in their accompanying guidance.
Some employers are asking all visitors to self-declare any exposure to affected persons or any recent visit to severely affected nations. Rather like asking employees to self-declare that their grey fleet vehicle has a valid MOT or that they have valid business insurance, such measures have limited legal value – but do serve as a challenge to all visitors to think about their personal situation and so have some limited benefit.
The law does require some groups to have specific risk assessments: young persons and pregnant women are specifically safeguarded; whilst there is no specific protection for those with a disability, sensible risk management means that individual risk assessments should be carried out for those who have a self-declared health condition which could increase their risk profile. Home working may be recommended in some circumstances for such staff.
In the face of the pandemic, many employers are reminding staff and contractors to tell them about any specific individual medical advice, which could affect the assessment. Duty holders will use this information to review their risk assessment and if necessary to adjust working conditions accordingly. Employees can ask to see the outcome of the risk assessment and the employer must show it to the individual.
The message then is simple: act responsibly and ethically, not out of fear of prosecution but out of an appropriate sense of accountability to staff and customer stakeholders. Stay current and do all that is reasonably practicable based on government advice and an ever-changing situation.
For a no-obligation demonstration of our COVD-19 Self-Assessment Audit, contact us today and a member of our team will be in touch.
Founder & CEO