Insurers still expect everyone to be compliant with existing legal obligations, specifically the duty imposed on all employers by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and others affected by their operations.
The term COVID-secure has become a well-used and common term, with ‘five steps to safer working together’1 that must be attained for any organisation to operate. In place since May 2020, following the introduction and frequently updated UK Government’s sector specific guidance the first step is to have undertaken a suitable and sufficient COVID-19 risk assessment, and to have shared the results with employees and others working on the premises.
The COVID-19 risk assessment should clearly show that, on the balance of all considerations, the controls implemented reduce the risk to as low as reasonably practical. This written 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.
However, the risk assessment is only the first stage. How controls identified in the risk assessment have been implemented into the day-to-day routines within the workplace, as well as their effectiveness, is arguably more important to ensure the business remains COVID-secure.
Gaining external validation of the proposed controls is important to many. For this reason Gallagher’s in house health and safety consultants have developed an on-site review designed to sense check the implementations of the controls proposed in your risk assessment against existing legislation, COVID-19 guidance. Of importance the review will considered whether the proposed controls would be deemed suitable and sufficient.
In the event that the COVID-19 Risk Assessment is found to fall short of the requirements detailed in the Government guidance, we can, after satisfactory rectification of any non-conformances, undertake a validation of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment against existing legislation, the latest Government sector specific COVID-19 guidance and protocols.
Successful implementation of the controls is paramount to meeting legal and insurers’ expectations, our own research shows 70%2 of businesses have already had a claim registered against them. Having a competent third party oversight will provide evidence that your premises are COVID-secure, offering a suitable defence should there be an escalation of claims in the future, as anticipated by Keogh’s LLP3 and with the creation of more claims management companies supporting this.
If you would like to find out more please speak to your usual Gallagher representative.
2. https://www.thehrdirector.com/business-news/covid19/litigation-boom-covid-19- sparks-wave-claims/
This article is not intended to give legal or financial advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon for such. These should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. In preparing these we have relied on information sourced from third parties and we make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein. It reflects our understanding as of 08-07-2021, but you will recognise that matters concerning COVID-19 are fast changing across the world. You should not act upon information in this email or the articles referred nor determine not to act, without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Gallagher accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in these, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein. No third party to whom this is passed can rely on it. Should you require advice about your specific insurance arrangements or specific claim circumstances, please get in touch with your usual contact at Gallagher.