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Mar

Coronavirus – What steps can your organisation take to ensure the safety of your employees and business?  

Posted by Tracy Seward

With the recent outbreak of Coronavirus getting more of a hold in the UK, we look at how business owners can prepare for potential disruption to business as usual.

With the potential necessity for workers to self-isolate from work if they have been to COVID-19 affected areas or are suffering with symptoms, employers might need to think about their business continuity plans, employee wellbeing approach and also their homeworking policy.

Homeworking has provided some much-needed flexibility for workers in recent times, as well as increased productivity and reduced impact on the environment from travel. What is important in the process of adoption and then into practice is that there is a policy and arrangements from a human resources, operations and health and safety perspective. While there should be limited risks in taking up this way of working, ensuring that there is a structured approach is key in the process and its success in providing a pragmatic approach to the challenges facing  employers and workers now and into the future.

The starting point is whether the workers role and their personality are suited to work at home with factors such as social isolation leading to poor wellbeing, personal motivation and target difficulties as well as reliance on colleagues to help deliver the individuals workload. At a practical level the worker must be able to create the right working environment, have the access to the right communication and in particular an ergonomic workstation. This needs to be achieved with the help of their employer so that worker wellbeing is achieved, and musculoskeletal disorders avoided, which are prevalent from sedentary jobs and is a big cause of absence and chronic injury.

The role of line management is to ensure that the administrative arrangements are in place to authorise and support workers so that they can work from home safely. This includes:-

  • The employer’s policy and arrangements are understood and applied
  • There is regular communication
  • Access to secure networks
  • Robust cyber and information security
  • Relevant insurances and systems for reporting of accidents and ill health issues are in place

To provide assurance that workers wellbeing will be protected from their homeworking an assessment and related training will be required to meet the obligations placed on employers. Assessments can take the form of an assessment questionnaire or checklists or a combination of both but ultimately it should help the line managers make a judgement about homeworking from all of the perspectives set out here. Ensuring that the assessment and training is completed efficiently and recorded accurately for audit, compliance and defensibility purposes, is of course essential. Using an online solution is really the only modern way of achieving this and is used in many organisations to provide the management control and information required to feed into the organisations management system.

The Praxis42 IOSH approved homeworker training and workstation assessment tool is either delivered by our compliance platform SHINE or can be configured to inter-operate with an employer’s learning management platform. This is an ideal solution for employers and employees to better understand their obligations, make accurate assessments, raise health awareness and meet personal and organisational responsibilities when working flexibility or having been advised to self-isolate due to the current situation. To understand more or to discuss your issues with an expert then call Praxis42 on 0870 446 4201 or email us at info@praxis42.com

 

 

 

 

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