Risk Assessment - Planning a safe return to premises

8 Jun 2020 Alex Hastings    Last updated: 9 Jun 2021

As organisations prepare to return safely to premises, risk assessments must be carried out for premises and activities/services taking place in them. This article provides some templates as well as helpful advice.

In preparing to return to our premises and provide services we need to consider all of the risks that exist. The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and service users is paramount. We need to identify, evaluate and control the risks. We cannot eliminate all risks completely as this would be very difficult and not cost effective, but we need to reduce the risk to a level that your organisation is comfortable with.  

In NICVA we have undertaken an extensive risk assessment of our building using the Health & Safety Executive Template attached.  We expect this document will be updated on an ongoing basis as circumstances change and public health guidance is reviewed.  We have also developed a set of protocols to guide individuals on the behaviour expected from them to ensure the safety of everyone. 

Risk Assessment - 5 steps

We have risk assessment guidance on our website that outlines the 5 steps.

  1. Identity hazards
  2. Identify who might be harmed and why
  3. Analyse risk
  4. Record
  5. Review

Health and Safety Executive's Risk Assessment Template

Organisations should carry out a risk assessment following HSE guidance, using the easy to use risk assessment template that you can adapt for your organisation. You can use it as a guide to think about: the additional  hazard that COVID 19 introduces into your business and the steps you need to take to control the risks. NIBusinessinfo have a helpful guide on Assessing the Health and Safety Risks in your business

Don't just copy it and put your organisation's name to it as every organisation is different - you need to think about the hazards and control measures your organisation needs to take to keep workers safe and healthy.  The control measures you adopt may have to be different from those in the example to meet the particular conditions in your workplace. You should ensure that you follow the latest advice from the Public Health Agency Employer Guidance and incorporate this information into your risk assessment.

NICVA's Draft COVID19 Risk Assessment

NICVA has carried out its own risk assessment which is regularly reviewed to assess risk and identify any actions needed to ensure safety in our premises. The risk assessment process is ongoing and under constant review.  We are happy to share this resource with you in draft form to help with your own risk assessments. Please see the document attached.

NICVA's Draft COVID19 Protocol

NICVA has also developed this COVID-19 Draft Protocol document to outline the policies, practices and behaviours NICVA staff/tenants all must adopt to fulfil our risk assessment findings to ensure the health and safety of all those working in the building.  Again this document (attached) is under continual review but please use it for reference purposes when developing your own Covid19 Health and Safety documents. 

LRA Guide on Covid-19 Vaccinations and the Workplace

The LRA (Labour Relations Agency) has published practical guidance on managing vaccination issues in the workplace which includes a policy template for employers. The guidance can be accessed here.

Signposting to useful information and resources:

NIBusinessinfo article - Coronavirus: Working Safely in Different Business Settings

NCVO Knowhowto article on Supporting volunteers and staff and keeping beneficaries safe this also includes webinars on a  variety of COVID 19 topics.

Charity Retail Association - Charity Shop reopening guidance.

CIPD have some useful guidance on returning to the workplace their website

alex.hastings@nicva.org's picture
by Alex Hastings

Human Resources Manager

[email protected]

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