With the unprecedented times we are all living through there is always a risk with our management of health and safety that things will have been missed. Sometimes through oversight of our management systems, or maybe because of difficulty in getting the assistance you have needed from specialists due to their own restricted working. People being on furlough for long periods whose knowledge and understanding of the systems was needed to ensure they functioned correctly, or lack of understanding of the importance of controls by those who remained onsite.

Whatever you missed it can be put right!

Have a check over the requirements put on you by legislation for mandatory inspections or training.  Look through your maintenance register to check you have got a plan for updating your compliance to providing safe equipment. Review your workforces training records to address any statutory training needs and book them in with a reputable provider. Carry out a site inspection (whilst maintaining social distancing of course) and identify any operational controls that may have not been maintained as well as you usually would.

Do your employees know more than you?

The workforce who are operational and have been throughout the last few months may have a differing perspective on the standards and how they have been maintained. They will know whether things are being missed in their areas, and as long as you approach the subject with care (and not blame) they should feel empowered to help.

What next?

Pull together a plan and make sure you write in down in some way. We love using whiteboards! Make priorities, use a risk based approach (you may need to speak to you H&S team or competent advisors on how to do this), and make sure you monitor the plan for progress regularly. Communicate to the workforce so that they know why the controls are needed and ask them to help you out by monitoring that the actions are maintained once reinstated.