The coronavirus crisis has caused upheaval in many of the practices we have built up to protect our properties and our staff. With the decision to move employees home and close many workplaces, we are now presented with huge risks during a time when we’d like to be focusing on our families and employees.

There are many risks across fire safety, fleet management and asset protection that need addressing.

Fire Safety

Fire does not discriminate and fire safety is key to ensuring staff and facilities remain safe. There a variety of fire safety risks based upon your own situation. For businesses forced to close under current guidance, fire risk can be mitigated by ensuring that your close down procedures are adequate.

Here are some simple things to consider:

  • Consider isolating any electrical items within the building
  • Lock away any flammable materials and remove rubbish and waste
  • Check that windows are shut, fire doors are closed, and internal doors are locked down
  • When vacating the premises shut down lighting, ensure fire safety systems are set correctly, and make sure external doors are secured

For businesses such as supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores and other essential business premises, who have taken on additional staff, your current fire safety and evacuation plan may be inadequate. With more employees and additional stock in the location, you may find that your means of escape is now adversely affected. Lastly, your risk of arson should be reduced by making sure that premises are secure and that you all bins, skips and rubbish are removed.

Fire Safety for Homeworkers

New homeworkers are by now establishing routines, working patterns and make-shift home offices. But have they thought about fire safety at home? With all this new equipment there is an added risk of fire.
Here’s a few handy tips you can share to help your home working staff manage their fire risk:
• Do not overload electrical outlets
• Do not place electrical cords under rugs or cover them with other materials
• Switch off and unplug your work devices at the end of each day
• Check your smoke alarms are working
• If you are a smoker, try to avoid smoking in the area you work in.

This advice appears in one of our 8 free temporary home worker email templates. Download them all here.

Driver Safety

Delivery drivers and those supporting vulnerable individuals are now under more pressure than ever. Britons made 80m extra grocery shops in less than a month in the weeks 24th February to 21 March, and demand has grown massively for deliveries. Morrisons is creating 3,500 extra jobs to meet demand for its delivery service.

All this means more pressure on what is now an essential service. For drivers, that means time pressure, which inevitably leads to more incidents as they have more drop offs to do while delivery times have been extended. In this study, speeding because of time pressure is identified as one the leading contributors to traffic accidents.

It’s not the only pressure they’re under; We’re all facing the pressure and stress from coronavirus. We’re all thinking of our families and are weighed down by the anxiety of contracting an illness. For delivery drivers, there is a further psychological worry having to deliver many packages to people’s homes and interacting with so many people each day.

Finally, let’s not forget that while all this is going on, busy supermarkets and narrow streets make for fertile grounds of parking and manoeuvring incidents. Careful drivers will be fine, but with heightened anxiety at this time it might be worth running through some ways to minimise these risks.

We’re providing virtual driver awareness training so employers can still keep their drivers safe even when they can’t physically get into the car with them.

Asset Protection

With all areas of business now operating in a different fashion for the foreseeable future, it’s wise to make sure the basics are covered. Are facilities secure and do you have staff still working at the premises? If not, however, are you ensuring that your premise is protected?

It’s worth advising facilities staff on-site to make sure areas are locked securely and alarm systems are set and active. It’s difficult to organise but a set of instructions for your facilities team can be the difference. Here are a few tips:

  • Ensure that all physical security measures are operating, such as CCTV and alarm system
  • Ensure that lights remain on in the extremity of the building
  • Ensure than internal doors that lead to high-value assets are locked and secured
  • If there is a monitoring company viewing alarms and CCTV, double-check that they still operating at this time? (Most will be key workers and will still be operating).
  • Do you feel comfortable with your duties, do you need support? Have you got in place a lone worker policy for facilities personnel?

For further advice and guidance check out our COVID-19 Health and Safety hub. We’ve brought together a variety of articles and resources to help support you at this time. We’re updating it all the time, so don’t forget to check back when you can.

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