Risk assessment - returning to premises safely

5 Jul 2020 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 14 Sep 2020

Many organisations are preparing to return to their premises safely. It is essential that risk assessments are carried out for both your building and your activities.  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

HSE risk assessment template

Before restarting work organisations must carry out a risk assessment following HSE guidance. They have provided a 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.

Don't just copy it and put your organisation's name to it, 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 and incorporate this information into your risk assessment.

NICVA Draft Risk Assessment

NICVA has carried out its own risk assessment to assess risk and identify any actions needed to ensure a safe return to our premises. While the document is still in draft form as the process is ongoing and under constant review, we are happy to share this resource with you to help with your own risk assessments. Please see the document attached.

NICVA COVID19 Draft Protocol

NICVA has also developed this COVID-19 Draft Protocol document to outlines the policies, practices and behaviours NICVA staff all must adopt to fulfil our risk assessment findings to ensure the health and safety of the whole team. Again this document (attached) is also still being developed, but please use it for advice, when drawing up your own documents.

Useful links

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. They also have a risk assessment template

sandra.bailie@nicva.org's picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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