Protecting hospice employees and volunteers in a Covid-safe workplace

Categories: Care and Featured.

In this advertorial Richard Webb, Managing Director of the Caring Professions Division at Towergate Insurance Brokers, writes about keeping hospice employees and volunteers safe during Covid-19 and beyond.  

A key topic of conversation in hospices around the UK currently is how you can protect your employees and volunteers, as Government guidance continues to evolve regarding ensuring a Covid-19 secure workplace.

What responsibility do you have?

Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of Covid-19, but as an employer you also have a legal duty to protect workers, visitors and others from risk to their health and safety. This means you need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practical to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of the virus.

If that duty is breached, employers can be found liable to compensate employees or members of the public for injury and losses which are proven to have resulted from that breach.

Employers and Public Liability cover will provide protection for employers against their legal liabilities to their employees or the public. They will cover bodily injury/illness so could include legal liabilities incurred from Covid-19 in a situation where the employer has breached their duty of care.

Risk assessments and documented safe systems of work which specifically identify and manage the risks posed by Covid-19 can assist in discharging the duty of care if they are suitable and sufficient.

Key considerations will include:

  • Adequate health surveillance, including identification of vulnerable individuals
  • Provision of suitable PPE
  • Assessment and management of workloads in the anticipation of reductions in available staff through sickness/self-isolation
  • Risks associated with individuals covering for missing colleagues

Risk assessments must be reviewed as and when the situation and Government advice changes.

Looking after your employees and volunteers

In addition to the physical health and safety of your employees and volunteers, you also have a duty of care for their mental health. The current situation has naturally brought with it an increase in stress, particularly in the key worker sectors, so your employees’ mental wellbeing has never been more important.

It is imperative that employers reach out to their employees and consult with them on any suggested changes to the current working environment. People will naturally feel anxious and worried about the situation and how safe they will be at work, and employers need to be understanding of this. They need to identify concerns and any impact on morale and loyalty in not having an engaged and happy workforce. There is a huge risk of a relationship break down if an employee feels that their employer is not demonstrating a safe working environment, not to mention the reputational damage this could result in.

 We know that it continues to be an uncertain and daunting time for hospices. Our team of hospice advisors are on hand to offer advice and specialist knowledge to help you. For more information visit Towergate Insurance Brokers

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