COVID-19 Risk Assessment
COVID-19 Risk Assessment
In this blog I consider what precautions are required for a Moving and Handling Trainer providing training to Clients and whether a Risk Assessment for COVID-19 is necessary?
To answer this question you have to first understand what a Risk Assessment is:
“Risk assessment is a term used to describe the overall process or method where you:
- Identify hazards and risk factors that have the potential to cause harm (hazard identification).
- Analyze and evaluate the risk associated with that hazard (risk analysis, and risk evaluation).
- Determine appropriate ways to eliminate the hazard or control the risk when the hazard cannot be eliminated (risk control)”. 1
Put simply the Hazard is the potential to cause harm and the Risk is the likelihood of the harm occurring.
Why are Risk Assessments important?
By having a risk assessment in the workplace, you are working towards protecting yourself, your staff, your visitors and contractors. The aim is to make your environment safe as well as legally compliant.
Five Steps to Risk Assessment
1. Identify the hazards.
2. Who might be harmed and how.
3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions.
4. Record the findings and implement them.
5. Review your assessment and update if necessary .2
Who can do a Risk Assessment?
The employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring that there are suitable and sufficient Risk Assessments in place. These can completed by the employer or a competent person on behalf of the organization.
Risk Assessments for COVID-19
So is COVID-19 just another hazard that employers must consider to protect people from harm? Yes it is but it is a difficult to do as the COVID-19 pandemic is new and has never been experienced before. Employers are being told by the government to make their premises COVID safe and to encourage their employees to come back to work. It is no surprise that many employees will be very anxious about returning. Similarly visitors or contractors to these premises will also have reservations. It is therefore very important to a have a risk assessment in place to address these concerns. A COVID-19 Risk Assessment is essential to help employers to manage the risk and protect people.3
The HSE states that Employers must:
- Identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
- Think about who could be at risk
- Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
- Act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk 3
Requirements for Visitors and Contractors
As a Moving and Handling Trainer I will be visiting numerous sites in the coming months including hospitals, council buildings and clinics. For each different venue I visit I will request a COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Visitors / contractors. This is very important to have prior to the training so I know what to expect before I visit the venue. It also gives me the opportunity to query anything I am not sure about before my visit.
However, I also have my responsibility as a Trainer to have my own COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Visiting Sites. It is the combination of our clients Risk Assessment and our USC Risk Assessment which will ensure both Course Attendees and Trainers remain Safe.
1 Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety 2020
2 HSE April 2016
3 HSE 2020
Wendy Attew, Senior Moving and Handling Consultant