COVID-19 | FAQs for Health and Safety Managers
With the uncertainty of the everchanging situation we find ourselves in, one thing is for certain – it’s not business as usual for now.
But whether you’re operating your business from home or with a skeleton staff, managing Health and Safety is still of paramount importance to keep you and your team safe.
The Health and Safety team have come together this week (virtually) to answer some of the most common questions posed to Health and Safety Managers right now.
Got a question for us? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help.
Health and Safety FAQs
Question: Do I need my employees to complete a DSE assessment while they are working from home?
Answer: The HSE are advising that for those who are working at home on a long term basis, the risks associated with using display screen equipment must be controlled. This includes doing home work station assessments.
However, there is no increased risk from DSE work for those working at home temporarily. So in that situation, employers do not need to do home work station assessments. More information can be found on the HSE website under home workers.
Question: How do I look at after my employees whilst they are working from home?
Answer: There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risks from computer monitors when home working. For example:
- Break up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour) or by switching to something non-screen based
- Avoid awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
- Step away from your desk or table and move around or stretch
It's also important to keep in regular contact with your teams. Homeworking can increase work-related stress and affect peoples mental health. Put plans in place for your employees to reach out to managers and colleagues to help recognise the signs of stress. Mind and MHFA England both have fantastic resources for helping with stress and anxiety whilst working from home.
Question: If an employee goes home with symptoms of COVID-19. Is this RIDDOR reportable?
The HSE has now issued guidance on RIDDOR reporting of cases of COVID-19, which states;
“You must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:
An unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
A worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.”
Question: Do I need to undertake my weekly fire alarm tests, fire safety walks and first aid kit checks as we are only running with skeleton staffing levels?
Answer: Yes. If your business is open and you have employees in the building, you still have duties to protect those affected by your business operations. Conducting usual tasks such as testing your fire alarm system, emergency lighting, checking escape routes/fire exits and first aid stock supplies is a vital part of ensuring the safety of your employees.
Question: Do I still need to have first aiders and fire wardens in place as my business is open?
Answer: As a business, you need to complete the first aid needs assessment to identify the level of coverage your business requires. However, if you are of a higher risk operation such as manufacturing or construction, you will still have the same level of risk tasks which would require first aid cover.
If you have a system in place where you operate with a fire warden system, you will need to assess the level of occupancy and the location of your employees. There are different systems for fire warden sweeps which could be implemented. There is still a duty to ensure safe evacuation in the event of an emergency.
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