rating button
Returning to the workplace - Risk assessment and approval process | Health and safety – Guidance for managers | Birmingham City Council

Returning to the workplace - Risk assessment and approval process

Before any buildings can reopen or services resume safely, the risks must be assessed and appropriate control measures identified.

In order to support managers and ensure a consistent approach that addresses key issues, including essential considerations for employees in vulnerable groups, the Safety Team has prepared a sample risk assessment, a risk reduction framework, and remote working guidance.

Occupational Health, Building Management, Public Health, Human Resources and Trade Unions have also had input to these documents

Birmingham City Council is committed to delivering services to citizens wherever possible, whilst ensuring that adequate measures are in place to protect service users and employees alike.

Wherever it is possible for staff to work effectively from home the guidance remains that they should continue to do so.

Where this is not possible and where public facing services are to resume, it will be necessary for Managers to demonstrate the reasons that a return to the workplace is unavoidable.

The following guidance and corporate approval process should be followed in every case where a return to the workplace of any type is being planned.

A workplace is anywhere that an employee conducts their duties, whether at Council premises or elsewhere.

Before premises can reopen or services resume safely, the risks must be thoroughly assessed and appropriate control measures identified.

In order to support managers and ensure a consistent approach that addresses key issues, including essential considerations for employees in vulnerable groups, the Safety Team has prepared a sample risk assessment, a risk reduction framework, and remote working guidance.

Occupational Health, Building Management, Public Health, Human Resources and Trade Unions have also had input to these documents.

In addition to the following guidance, information on the process and completion of the documents is available in the form of online training sessions via Microsoft Teams

Request Training by emailing safety.services.training@birmingham.gov.uk

Risk Reduction Framework

Will assist managers with a consistent approach to considering whether a return to the workplace is necessary, along with the associated risks within the work environment, general service delivery, and for the individual performing the work.

Sample Risk Assessment

Supports managers in considering the risk to individuals, general risks, and workplace-related risks. The individual risk assessment needs to consider any factors that increase an individual’s susceptibility to serious COVID-19 infection, and managers need to put in place appropriate control measures and support.

In addition to completing the Sample Risk Assessment, Managers will need to review existing service / work activity and role-based risk assessments to consider the impact of infection control on service delivery.Where services have already completed this work, particularly where a level of service has been maintained throughout the COVID-19 response, the existing risk assessment should be reviewed to check it covers the key points in the sample. If there are gaps, the risk assessment should be updated. It will be necessary.

New covid controls may conflict with existing safety measures and it will be necessary to consider all safety legislation to ensure continued compliance in all areas. Occupational Health and Safety Services can offer advice and support if required

Please refer to the the Sample Risk Assessment.

PPE Request Form

When completing the sample risk assessment and identifying a need for PPE, please be aware that only PPE for services that are identified as High / Medium priority will be approved.

The PPE template will be used to capture PPE requests and the Health and Welfare Cell will determine the level of priority.

It is important to remember that PPE should only be considered as a last resort, where it has not been possible to reduce the level of risk to an acceptable level through the implementation of other control measures.

Only requests for PPE that has been identified as part of the additional Covid-19 control measures will be considered by the PPE cell and in line with current government guidance.

Where PPE was previously used this should continue to be sourced and provided at local level and through service budgets as before.

PPE Request form

The attachments and information outlined above should be reviewed in conjunction with the BCC staff guidance on COVID-19.

What you need to do before your staff can return to the workplace

Where there is a proposal for Employees to return to the workplace or for service to resume, Managers should review the Sample Risk Assessment and also incorporate relevant content into existing risk assessments, taking into account vulnerable staff groups.

All building requests will need to be approved by both Building Management and the Business Continuity Cell to ensure that adequate checks have been completed before they re-open.

In addition, managers should review any individual or personal risk assessments, and contact staff to discuss any necessary changes where appropriate.

Occupational Health and Safety will be able to provide support where required, in addition, e-learning (Risk Management 2019) is available via the Learning Pool.

Once managers have drafted the risk assessments, these should be reviewed by the Head of Service.

Once approved, these will then be shared with local trade union representatives.

Each directorate will be arranging a special Trade Union Health & Safety meeting to consult on these risk assessments prior to developing the final version, which will be posted, by Heads of Service, to a dedicated web page for staff to view them.

Download the RTW process flow chart

Further information

Please refer to the BCC staff guidance on COVID-19.