The Government has required all organisations to conduct a coronavirus (Covid-19) risk assessment and to make a 'five steps to safer working' declaration. This includes a declaration that you have carried out a coronavirus risk assessment and shared the results with staff.

You must ensure that additional risks associated with coronavirus are assessed before allowing staff, or more staff, to return to their workplaces, and you should ensure that significant findings/controls are recorded if you have more than five employees.

As part of your risk assessment you must:

• identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus

• think about who could be at risk

• decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed

• act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

Whilst the Government and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced detailed guidance to assist with working safely during the coronavirus, as yet, they have not published a template risk assessment.

The HSE Northern Ireland and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Areas you may need to cover include:

• issues relating to your premises and workplaces

• your work processes or practices

• personal protective equipment

• generic risks that may affect your staff, beneficiaries, clients or others

You will also need to consider risk assessments for certain individual workers, particularly if they are vulnerable.

You also have a duty to consult your staff on health and safety matters. They are often the best people to understand the risks in the workplace and will have a view on how to work safely. Involving them in making decisions shows that you take their health and safety seriously.

All businesses with more than 50 employees must publish their risk assessments and to display a poster confirming compliance with the five steps to safer working.

  • Michael Delaney is a partner at award-winning law firm VWV, which has offices in Clarendon Road, Watford