3 practical considerations for your business during the lockdown

Posted on 22nd Apr, 2020 | By Lorretta Tatham

The national coronavirus lockdown has had an untold effect on the way all of us live and work, and in the last few weeks the pressure has been on for business owners to find ways of adapting to the challenges, especially for hands-on work. But as well as financial and continuity plans for your business throughout the lockdown, there are also a number of practical concerns you’ll need to bear in mind, too – particularly where health and safety is concerned. Here, we’ve summed up some of the most critical.

Maintaining your tools and equipment

Keeping tools and equipment in good repair is always a top priority at the best of times, but in these uncertain times it’s worth considering subjecting your ladders, access equipment and other assets to even more frequent and stringent checks. Even if you think they may not be necessary, it’s far better for workers to take just a bit of extra time for a quick-once over to ensure that any unnecessary accidents can be avoided, especially with our country’s healthcare system currently in crisis.

The limitations imposed by the lockdown present several other compelling reasons why it’s worth stepping up your inspection regimes. Temporary closures of other supplies or service providers may well limit your opportunities to repair or replace your equipment. Identifying this problem sooner rather than later may not help with an immediate solution, but could at least help you plan accordingly.

inspecting step ladder before use

Similarly, providing reliable PPE cannot be relegated to a secondary concern, whatever the task at hand. If it’s not immediately available, sourcing it should be made a key priority over the letter of impending deadlines – if a job cannot be reliably done safely, employers need to question whether it’s really a job that needs doing at all. And obviously, social distancing guidelines should be observed as much as is practically possible.

Maintaining your properties and essential services

The Building Engineering Services Association has gone on record stating that buildings still need to be managed and maintained during this period. The reasons for this are manifold – foremost amongst them are to maintain security, protect the fabric of the buildings and their critical systems, and adhere to statutory compliance and insurance requirements.

This means that building and property managers still need to consider elements such as (for example):

  • Water systems (to prevent the spread of legionella)
  • Fire protection systems
  • Refrigerant gases
  • Electrical and gas safety service checks
  • Boiler repairs

These are just a few examples. The government has laid out clear guidelines that distinguish between what is classed as essential vs non-essential work. All of the above examples are classed as essential, whereas most non-essential works are ‘elective’ or aesthetic such as new building extensions or decorating.

Looking after your staff

This is just as important as the other two entries on this list. Your most precious resource as a business is your staff. As well as cross-examining your equipment and facilities for immediate safety concerns, it’s also a good idea to take a longer-term view of the physical and mental health of your employees. Be communicative in how you’re looking after them during the lockdown, and make yourself – or a dedicated member of staff – available to listen to their concerns, and explain your responses. It’s also a good idea to be flexible in terms of your operations, working hours, and even pay structures if possible. In times of crisis, people always remember how their employers respond, and in the long run this can be just as crucial to your continued operation as any other practical measures we’ve listed above.

At the time of writing (late April, 2020), our training courses are currently suspended in line with government guidance, but we are still taking bookings for August, and we hope to resume our courses as soon as it is practically safe to do so. Watch this space! In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call on 01282 615517.

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