For many, the recent easing of lockdown restrictions could not come soon enough and if, like me, you are optimistic that they will continue then we can refocus our plans for a new normal that hopefully reminds us of pre-pandemic days.
The vaccination programme throughout the UK has featured heavily in bringing a new normality back to us all. We do however need to maintain vigilance, adopt good practises, and better hygiene standards as only by doing so can we hope to reach an end of the pandemic.
There will always be resistance from society on the need for keeping some of the measures in place but the truth is that personal choice, right or wrong, will dictate what actually happens. None of us can ignore the sacrifices made already and continue to be made at this time. Our guard needs to be kept up as does our acceptance that we do have a responsibility to do all that we possibly can to prevent a resurgence of the virus resulting in the re-introduction of tighter controls at local, regional or national levels.
Common sense often prevails when approaching risk management although it can be a daunting prospect for anyone new to the topic. Throughout the pandemic we have been taught how best to protect ourselves, and others, be that social distancing, self-isolating, sanitising etc as these were daily headlines as far as coronavirus is concerned. What of the pre-pandemic risk management though? It is still there and requires our attention and as we return to the workplace, or adopt flexible working arrangements never has it been more important that we get back on top of those which have fallen to the wayside, not forgotten, during lockdown periods.
The Changing Workplace
Even if you have a dedicated person responsible for risk management, a team effort is required to ensure that a safe workplace or environment is provided for all, including newly introduced measures relative to coronavirus,
For those who closed premises, reduced operations or moved to a working from home platform then good preparation, including recommencing thorough inspections, will be key to a successful return to work for all.
Pay particular attention to your utility supplies and if you have burglar and fire detection systems installed. Your regular maintenance may be overdue and this needs to be carried out as soon as the providers can do so. They may have significant backlogs to deal with too. Don’t forget any statutory inspections of plant too as this must be brought up to date as well.
Effective risk management stems from risk assessments being carried out for all of the operations and activities that you undertake. If you have started, or are planning to start, new activities you should make sure that anyone involved receives appropriate training first. You should also fully document this training. The paper trail is an absolute must in the event of loss, damage or injury as without it the probability of successfully defending a claim significantly reduces.
Having appropriate insurance cover relies upon your Insurer being aware of all that you do. Yes, having the right insurance protection centres on adequate sums insured and indemnity limits but if you are carrying out new activities then you must inform your Insurer/Broker as only by doing so can the risks arising from those new activities be catered for under your insurance cover. This is particularly important where your organisation’s activities temporarily ceased during lockdown and your insurance cover may have been put on hold. Have you informed your Insurer/Broker of your plans to re-open. If you have already re-opened but failed to advise, the time is now to do so.
Keegan & Pennykid is a leading specialist insurance broker that has a longstanding relationship with voluntary sector organisations.
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