COVID-19 Risk Assessment Update
We all hoped the new year would bring us some form of relief from the restrictions imposed on us over the last 10 months but again we find ourselves amidst another lockdown and possibly looking at being mandated further to adhere to even tougher restrictions.
Despite all of us doing our utmost best to comply with the ever changing rules and guidance it is being reported by my contacts within Environmental Health that some food related businesses, especially those that are really busy such as food manufacturers, retailers and distributors, have dropped their guard and are not doing everything they can to prevent the transmission of the disease in their food related work environments. Clearly the last thing we all want to do is put our customers, staff, suppliers or ourselves at greater risk and knowing that the virus has not gone away we should ensure our mitigation procedures are robust and properly in place. It has been well publicised that the current new variant of Coronavirus is believed to be between 60% and 70% more transmissible than the earlier variant which means controls such as mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, effective cleaning, good ventilation etc should be even more stringently adhered to. I also think its important not to forget the effectiveness of putting team members into groups such as as co-workers, team A / Team B etc to prevent the spread of infection. This also enables a business to continue to operate should someone contract the disease and need to go into quarantine / self-isolation. I therefore feel its important to gently remind everyone that the COVID-19 Workplace Risk Assessments we all prepared last year need to be reviewed and updated (dated / signed off) to reflect the changing / current position. Anyone who did not manage to complete a COVID-19 Workplace Risk Assessment should complete one now as this is one of the first questions an EHO asks when contacting a food business. Also, now that the pandemic has stretched on for 11 months we are all more likely to be hearing from our local authority sometime soon. and the EHO's are looking for evidence that we have kept our Risk Assessments up to date and have familiarised / trained staff with their responsibilities.
A good source of general info can be found on the HSE website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=spot-inspections-headline&utm_content=digest-14-jan-21
Or go to the UK Hospitality website:
https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/coronavirus Finally - I spoke with a Senior Environmental Health Officer yesterday who believed the world would not be 'back to normal' until 2024. I was shocked by this ....... sobering times indeed! Clearly we all need to do our part.
Please get in touch if anyone has any questions; I'm always here to help where I can. Keep smiling.