Employers must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect staff, children, young people and others from COVID-19 within the setting. Managers must ensure that risk assessments take place on a setting by setting and individual basis where required. To help with setting-level risk assessments, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has an example COVID-19 risk assessment which provides a general framework for all business sectors. Guidance on how to undertake individual level risk assessments for members of staff is available in guidance produced by the Scottish Government.
Setting-level risk assessments are expected to consider all risks identified in respect of COVID-19 and must take account of the relevant guidance from Public Health Scotland, and the Health and Safety Executive. The assessment should directly address risks associated with coronavirus, so that appropriate measures can be put in place to control those risks for everyone. All risk assessments should be reviewed regularly and as circumstances change. Risk assessments must be refreshed in the context of new variants of concern and of this guidance.
Settings should ensure that they implement pragmatic and proportionate control measures which reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practical level. They should have active arrangements in place to monitor that the controls are:
- working as planned
- updated appropriately considering any issues identified and changes in public health advice
Staff, staff representatives and trade unions should be consulted in the development and updating of risk assessments. Plans and risk assessments should be communicated to parents and must be shared with all staff. This must include staff who are employed within the service but who do not provide direct care to children such as catering or cleaning staff. Support staff have a key role to play in reducing the risk from COVID-19 and it is important that they understand and follow the changes to procedures required to reduce the risk of the spread of infection.
This dialogue in relation to the risk assessments should identify what measures are working, where improvements are possible and identify any remaining gaps. Reviews of measures and risks should be frequent. Mitigation measures should be implemented as soon as the need for them is are identified and assessment of compliance should be undertaken on a daily basis.
Providers should consult extensively with their staff to ensure that they are clear and confident in implementing the required public health measures and processes.
The provider must undertake regular health and safety checks of the building concerned prior to reopening, including water quality sampling for legionella and other bacteria.