The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting many businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire. Very few small firms had a plan in place for such an event occurring. This has led many small to medium sized businesses in Coventry to be uncertain about what they should do and what their legal duties are. In a fast-changing situation, it’s important to be flexible, keep up to date with the latest government guidance and to get a plan in place. Also, keep up to date with what Coventry City Council are saying via their website.
Here are our five suggestions for ways to keep your staff and business safe during the crisis.
Always look after your staff and their families
-make sure you can contact your staff and share information with them at short notice. Things are changing quickly, so it is important that you are able to change your business plans at short notice. To do this, you need to be able to reach your team.
– Review risk assessments and method statements regularly taking into consideration the risks from COVID-19. The requirement for handwashing must be included along with a need to report contact with anyone who has been ill, is in self isolation or who is taking medications that could affect their safety.
– In troubled times people can become more dependent on alcohol and recreational drugs. Ensure that staff are aware of your policy and continue to enforce it.
-Have a business continuity plan in place which enables remote working where possible. If you don’t have a business continuity plan please get in touch and we can help you to develop one.
Consider how technology can help your business to function
-Remote working should allow staff to be in touch with each other. There are many software solutions available, such as video conferencing, or via platforms such as Skype.
-If necessary, look to separate your teams across multiple sites and link them via technological solutions.
– Consider rotating office-based staff with those working remotely. Always have regular deep cleans taking place particularly if you are rotating staff.
– Make sure to manage safety. Consider the way your staff will work from home, carry out DSE assessments and equip your staff with equipment they need to keep your business running.
Review your supply chain
- If you lost elements of your supply chain can you still function? You can identify dependencies through reviewing your supply chain from end to end. Speak to suppliers , identifying your suppliers’ supply source down to component level and don’t be shy to ask probing questions. To look after your business you need to know you are managing your business risks. If you are part of a supply chain, understand who your customers sell onto and try to predict their demand.
– Look for new suppliers, build new relationships and start talking with other players in the market place. Try to identify and connect with alternative supply options whether they be service providers or manufacturers.
-Consider looking for local suppliers. If larger suppliers fail are their local solutions? Coventry and Warwickshire provide a wide variety of amazing businesses and world class local talent. Coventry has a large variety of factories who are worth talking to. You may build lasting relationships with local supply chain solutions this way.
-ensure your logistics and warehousing risks are considered. This should include driver fatigue, illness whilst working and the risks of areas being closed off. Assess these risks and plan to mitigate them.
Assess your business health and safety risks
- If you faced a number of your staff not being at work, could you still function safely? Health and safety legislation and regulations are still in force and you must keep your staff safe. Review your risk assessments and plan for the foreseeable risk of coronavirus in your workplace. What would you do if you have staff fall ill at work? You need to have a plan in place and be prepared for a large number of staff being in self isolation.
- Provide handwashing facilities, make sure there is sanitiser available and soap in the bathrooms.
- Put up signage about COVID-19. You need to keep educating your staff and reminding them to wash their hands.
- Consider hygiene at working lunches or whenever food is provided to staff for meetings. Are you inadvertently encouraging people to eat with unwashed hands? Provide sanitiser and handwashing if you are providing food and consult with your suppliers.
- Provide boxes of tissues around the office and plenty of bins that are emptied and cleaned regularly. Ensure the safety of your cleaners whether they are employed or contractors.
- Encourage your staff to self-isolate if they feel unwell. If they come into work they expose your business to the risk of a large number of staff being unable to work if they have to self-isolate. Avoid that risk by being a responsible employer.
- Split your teams. If you have teams working together limit their time together. If some become ill, they don’t all need to be ill if they work separately.
- Make sure you have someone who can stand in for you (the business owners) if you have to self-isolate. Have technical solutions in place so even the boss can be away from work.
Ensure you have adequate safety resources
- Do you have enough first aiders? If some of your first aiders became ill would you have enough left to provide adequate first aid support? If you don’t, train some more.
- Do you have enough fire marshals? If some of your fire marshals were off work would you have sufficient plans for safe evacuation?
- Make sure you have plenty of trained staff, share information such as how to operate the fire alarm, and keep people safe at work.
- Put up signage about your procedures, keep your staff up to date and informed and encourage your staff to talk about how they are feeling. Make sure you have mental health first aiders trained so that your staff don’t feel alone during these dark days.
- Have a look at our online training courses https://www.jchsafety.co.uk/online-health-safety-training-3/
- Continue to carry out your statutory maintenance checks such as fire alarm checks and emergency lighting tests.
JCH Safety Ltd provide a range of chartered occupational safety and health services, risk management solutions and business risk strategies to companies in Coventry, Nuneaton and Warwickshire. We provide a range of online health and safety training courses as well as first aid training.
If we can be of any assistance, please feel free to get in touch.
024 7771 7503
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