Covid-19 recovery – The good and the could do better

A summary of my findings three months into Covid-19 recovery.

Okay, so the last three months have been tough, working in the world of health and safety and having been involved in helping to get hospitality and retail businesses ‘back to business` has been hard work. As part of our Covid-Safe offering we’ve been helping our clients carry out robust Covid-19 risk assessments – I have to admit, I’ve now seen so many I find myself dreaming about them!

So far, we’ve helped over 50 great independent businesses reopen after lockdown, 37 of those have so far passed a Foursquare Covid-Safe audit. Here are some are my insights into what I’ve found over the last few months during the process.

If you don’t have a health and safety background it’s not really an easy process to get your head around, especially when you have so many other hats to wear as a business owner.

Simply speaking, a risk assessment is an analysis of one or more hazards in the workplace in order to work out how these hazards can potentially cause harm, injury or illness. It’s important to think about the magnitude of the risk based on several factors such as likelihood of harm occurring, the severity of harm and the number of persons affected. When all of this information has been gathered and considered, it should inform your decision-making process when deciding on adequate measures that can eliminate or reduce the risk to a level that is reasonably practicable.

If you think about it, every measure you put in place no matter how small will have some effect in lowering the overall risk. At the end of the day we want to aim for lowering risk as low as we can, utilising a reasonable level of manpower and effort, a reasonable amount of time if necessary and a reasonable amount of money, hence the term ‘reasonably practicable`.

In terms of control measures it’s easy enough to look on the government website and work out that we need to socially distance, wash our hands more and clean mor. However, if a risk assessment is to be robust and stand up to scrutiny then there are many other things that need to be considered and that’s where we have been helping our customers through this process. Sometimes as a business owner, you are so close to your business that you can’t see things right in front of you, an independent eye is what is required to see the things that you don’t see, much of this is based on knowledge and years of experience.

So, here are my some of my findings from this process so far – the ‘good’ and the ‘could do better’.

The ‘good’ – lots to mention here but I’ll keep it short and include my top three:

  • A refreshing eagerness to get involved in the risk assessment process by business owners and managers and wanting to put really robust measures in place to protect both their staff and their customers.
  • A newly refreshed interest in health and safety in general. Including a renewed interest in wanting to get on board with things like training and food management systems
  • Business owners and managers suggesting some great ideas as part of the control measures which are specific to their business and site – just shows that the best people to ask about where the risks lie, are the ones that actually do the job day in day out.

The ‘could do better’ – unfortunately there are some businesses who haven’t taken this process as seriously. Some businesses have committed to just the bare minimum in terms of a risk assessment or implementation of control measures. This is disappointing because they really are failing to see the severity of the situation and the risk to their staff, customers and their own businesses.

I’ve also heard about many businesses implementing suitable control measures but then abandoning them later as ‘no one else is doing it’. It really is a shame to see because it shouldn’t be about what everyone else is doing, it should be about you, your business, your staff and your customers.

The Covid-19 risk assessment and the control measures which we have been helping businesses implement are the responsibility of each business. The risk, health, wellbeing and safety of your business, staff and customers is solely your responsibility so it’s really important that the process is taken seriously and followed through.

There is a certain amount of ‘Covid-fatigue’ which is bound to set in. We’ve all been dealing with this intense threat for a long time now and it’s only natural that complacency will start to creep in, but it’s really important that your business remains vigilant, sticks to the plan set out in your risk assessment and remain consistent.

See you all soon.