Despite the easing of some of the restrictions around Covid-19, there is still a strong emphasis on keeping workplaces Covid secure, with companies who fail to comply facing criminal prosecution. CHAS, the supply chain risk management experts, discusses what this means for employers and explains what can be done to promote compliance throughout the supply chain
As more sectors return to work the HSE has been reminding employers of their duty to protect workers and others from harm by ensuring that workplaces are Covid secure. This includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk of coronavirus and protect people in the form of a Covid-19 risk assessment.
The HSE is undertaking spot checks to check compliance and has made it clear that it won’t hesitate to take action where employers are failing to meet their obligations.
Three key actions
There are three key actions which employers must take to help ensure workplaces are Covid secure which include:
- Carrying out a Covid-19 risk assessment in consultation with workers or their trade union;
- sharing this risk assessment with staff (and online for organisations of over 50) and;
- displaying a notice to confirm they have complied with government guidance.
It is also important for organisations to monitor any measures that have been put in place to ensure they are working as expected.
To help employers complete their Covid-19 risk assessments, the HSE has created a guide to what to include. Employers should also refer to sector-specific guidance which in the construction industry includes the government’s guidelines for the sector, along with the Construction Leadership Council‘s (CLC) ‘Site Operating Procedures (SOP)’.
Verifying the supply chain
For sectors such as the construction industry, where there are often multiple contractors working on a single site, the challenge is for site operators to be able to quickly and easily identify that everyone on site understands and is committed to following Covid secure guidelines.
Consequently, construction clients are looking for evidence that their contractors are operating in line with industry guidance. To this end, CHAS has added a Statement of Best Practice (Covid-19) to its member packages, to make it quick and easy for contractors to demonstrate that they are working towards being Covid secure and to help the industry to freely access Covid-secure contractors.
To complete the statement of best practice, contractors must confirm and, where appropriate, provide evidence that they have taken the three key actions laid out earlier.
Filling out the Statement of Best Practice (Covid-19) is completely free and contractors simply need to login to the contractor portal and upload and submit evidence to show they meet the requirements. When CHAS Clients log on to the CHAS Client Portal they can then instantly see whether a contractor has completed their Statement of Best Practice (COVID-19).
For organisations who aren’t already CHAS Clients, it is quick, easy and completely free to register and includes a range of business benefits, from the ability to easily source contractors by trade and region from a database of over 30 000 qualified contractors to the availability of dedicated business services.
CHAS managing director, Ian McKinnon, said: “We recognise that organisations are looking for reassurance that everyone within their supply chain is operating to the required Covid-19 secure standards but we also know it’s extremely difficult for organisations to perform these checks independently – particularly while running with reduced staff numbers.
“The Statement of Best Practice (Covid-19) makes it easy for CHAS contractors to qualify for work whilst giving CHAS clients immediate visibility of a contractor’s Covid secure status.”
CHAS has also extended its CHAS People worker verification tool to include a Health Wallet so that the industry can track worker’s symptoms and upload Covid-19 antigen or antibody test results to track their fitness to work if and when this is required.
The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS)