Insurers will expect organisations to be and continue to remain compliant with existing legal obligations, specifically the duty imposed on all employers by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and others affected by their operations.
In order to demonstrate this duty of care has been fulfilled, employers must be able to evidence that the actions taken to control the risks to health, safety and welfare are reasonably practicable, in other words the balance between the benefits of risk reduction on the one hand, outweigh the time, effort and cost of the control measures on the other. The risk assessment should clearly show that, on the balance of all considerations, the controls implemented reduce the risk as low as reasonably practical. This evidence, in the form of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, is crucial in the defence of an insurance claim for personal injury or illness or intervention by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or other regulatory authority.
The financial consequences of COVID-19 are also far reaching, with forecasts suggesting the UK economy is heading towards a major recession. The pressure on an organisation, its directors, officers, shareholders and stakeholders to return to profitability, while maintaining health and safety compliance, could be burdensome and potentially rushed, or indeed not fully understood or implemented, signalling further problems for the organisation in forthcoming months and potentially years. It is essential therefore, that organisations have assessed the risks to the health, safety and welfare of their employees and others, arising through work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How can an organisation ensure that its risk assessment for working or returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic is suitable and sufficient?
A Gallagher Risk Management Consultant can arrange a conference or video call to ascertain an understanding of your organisation and to establish context before undertaking an independent, professional review of your COVID-19 Risk Assessment against existing legislation, COVID-19 guidance and protocols. Where the document is considered suitable and sufficient it will be validated by the health and safety consultant. The cost of this service will vary based on the complexity and number of documents that require reviewing.
In the event that the COVID-19 risk assessment is not considered suitable or sufficient, the consultant will provide a brief, high level summary of the areas requiring improvement. Having a validated and successfully implemented COVID-19 risk assessment will enhance your mitigation and defensibility should a COVID-19 incident occur at your workplace.
Document development support
It is acknowledged that not all organisations have the in-house competency, capability or expertise to utilise the supplied areas requiring improvement and further assistance may be required. If this is the case, our health and safety consultant will advise, with specific detail, the areas requiring further consideration and offer suggestions to assist you with the document’s further development. Again the cost of this service will vary based on the complexity and number of documents that require updating.