Top ten tips to conduct staff COVID risk assessments
Protecting the wellbeing of the staff is equally important as we protect our residents or patients we look after. The anxiety levels might be very high for some of the team due to their health matters or about someone at their household. As per the HSE, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of their staff by considering the risks involved.
Here are our ten tips for conducting staff risk assessment below:
- It would be best if you had policies on assessing workforce risks and mitigation plans. Depending on the size of the organisation, occupational health support will be required in dealing with the high-risk candidate, where there is a disagreement. Most of the HR firms do provide such support. The employee can even consult their GP on their suitability to continue the work depending on their exposure levels.
- Confidentially conduct a risk assessment. Usually, this is done by the line manager, who is empathetic to their concerns. You can download a sample staff risk assessment here.
- Consider the duties they are undertaking to identify their risk of exposure to COVID. Some of the personal risk factors are described below.
- Age - Increasing age increases the risk of a fatal outcome. Those over 60 have double the risk, and those over 70 have over four times the risk. In the Black, Asian and minority ethnic population, the risk elevates from age 55.
- Male - Males has twice the risk in comparison to females.
- Health problems - Some of the health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and low immunity. The risk factor increases with the severity of the health condition.
- Shielding - Risk factor increases if they have received a shielding letter form the government or GP.
- Nature of the work - There is increased risk due to providing personal or clinical care for vulnerable people with COVID. The workforce risk is increased if your care business is looking after people who cannot understand such risks.
- Minimising the risk - The purpose of doing a risk assessment is to take actions to minimise the risk. It is imperative to make sure that the employee agrees with your actions to protect them. If they do not, it will have to be passed on to the next level. Achieving the psychological safety of working within your company is vital for effective teamwork.
- Actions - Actions to minimise risks involves, using adequate PPE as per the government guidelines, effective disinfection at the workplace, promoting hand hygiene measures, creating red, amber and green zones, regular communication with the workforce on changes in guidelines, training and competency assessments, local COVID spikes and restrictions.
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