Businesses are advised to implement Business Continuity Plans. These should include measures which ensure your business can continue to operate if there was a spread of COVID-19 amongst your workforce, your customers and/or within your business premises.
While double vaccination reduces the symptoms of COVID-19 and its transmission rates, it is still possible for vaccinated individuals to both catch and spread the virus. Therefore, COVID-19 presents a continued risk to businesses, their workforce and their customers.
Those in the workplace who have not been vaccinated or are only part-vaccinated, have a higher risk of both catching and transmitting COVID-19 in the workplace and of experiencing more severe symptoms. Whilst complying with data protection legislation and not requiring staff to confirm their vaccination status it would be beneficial for business to understand the level of risk within the workforce for business continuity planning.
Planning should include implementation of risk management procedures that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. Plans should also be put in place in the event that a member of the workforce, or a customer in close contact with your workforce, tests positive for COVID-19.
- Have you identified the level of risk your business operates in, in relation to the transmission of COVID-19 within the workforce / amongst customers?
- If your business operates in a high-risk environment, do you have sufficiently robust risk management policies in place to mitigate this risk?
- What are the minimum staff numbers required to operate your business?
- What measures can be put into place to ensure minimum required staff operating numbers can be achieved, in cases where transmission of COVID-19 within the business has occurred?
- Is it possible to implement shift working, or premises-based ‘shifts’, which separate groups of staff, to mitigate transmission of the virus amongst the full workforce?
- Do you have the right mix of skills and knowledge within each of the shift groups?
- Can you implement a 2-metre social distance between staff and customers within the premises?
- Can you implement and/or encourage staff home-working without it being detrimental to the business?
- Do your premises have good ventilation such as windows, doors and shutters? Can improved ventilation measures be implemented?
- Is your business set up to operate remotely? Can this be implemented quickly?
- Have you identified the most critical work streams and workers for your business, without which your business cannot operate? Do you have a backup plan should these workers test positive for COVID-19?
- Do staff members have the skills to multi-task in the absence of colleagues? Can training be implemented to upskill staff to cover workstreams?
- Does the business have up-to-date, detailed Process Manuals in place for key service/work areas? Have these been shared with the workforce? In their absence, can Process Manuals be implemented?
- Do you record and have easy access to information on staff access to the business premises by date and time and by area worked in? If not, can you implement these records?
- Is the workforce clear about your COVID-19 protocols and response plans and do they understand them?
- Do you have a protocol in place for contacting staff members easily and quickly, outside of working hours, should the need arise?