Vito Sepe, divisional director of James Hallam Travel and Tour, outlines considerations identified by James Hallam Risk Management for travel firms as they look to reopen business premises

These recent months have been very challenging for any organisation, but in particular the travel  industry has been hit very hard as enforced shutdowns due to this unprecedented pandemic have forced premises to close and business to grind to a halt, almost overnight.

Now, as the focus begins to turn to safely reopening, there are significant new challenges to face if businesses can safely return to work.

Safely restarting business or achieving “Covid-19 Secure” premises following the coronavirus epidemic requires a number of important considerations, particular for any organisations operating multiple sites throughout the UK.

Below, we look at the risk management measures that are needed to get your business operating safely and also to allow you to stand out in the industry.

How do we reopen in this new world?

The government has set out guidelines and recommendations to allow businesses to prepare for reopening. It has set various industry specific standards that all business must comply to in order to achieve “Covid-19 Secure” status.

We would advise senior management teams to break your businesses into bite-size chunks and review the following areas to ensure you are complying with legislative requirements, new government Covid-19 guidance and industry best practice.

People – Hygiene – Safety – Maintenance – Regulatory Inspections.

How do I become Covid-19 Secure?

There are five steps to achieve Covid-19 Secure Premises status, and a summary is follows:

  • You must carry out a risk assessment of your premises and consider the safety of both your employees and members of the public. To complete a risk assessment, you can either visit the HSE website or engage a competent person or firm to carry this out on your behalf
  • You must have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in place
  • You must have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home
  • You must have taken all reasonable steps to maintain two metres social distance in the workplace
  • Where people cannot be two metres apart, you must have done everything practical to manage transmission risk

The government guidance documents offer practical steps to take, so they are a great starting point.

What If I am Not Covid-19 Secure?

As you can imagine, it is imperative that the standards and guidelines that have been set out by the UK government have been followed.

Failure to be or to continue to be Covid-19 Secure could lead to a breach of your statutory duty which could include fines and a criminal conviction. But importantly, it would mean that your business or premises are ultimately not safe to open!

To view James Hallam Risk Management’s full guidance on reopening business premises, click here.

To view the government’s guidance documents, click here.

To view HSE guidance on risk assessments, click here.