The COVID-19 Coronavirus has the potential to severely affect organisations and communities in the UK.
This blog provides advice to clients on how to manage the changing threat in their organisations. This is written in the context of ISO standards which require risks to be managed.
We do not address the details of the Coronavirus here and you should refer to the official advice below.
Official advice from the UK Government and international authorities is constantly changing as the situation develops. Check the following information for the most up-to-date information.:
- UK Government’s office guidance; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public,
- NHS Office Guidance: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Call 111 if you believe you may have Coronavirus.
See also: Information on Assent’s Specific Arrangements.
Identifying Coronavirus Risks
Like any severe illness, Coronavirus has the potential to affect a large number of people in an organisation. In addition, the strategy to control the spread of the virus could have a knock-on effect on your organisation.
There are several organisational risks which you should consider and address through your Risk Assessments for ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 14001 or other standards.
Staff & Skill Availability
The performance and availability of staff could be impacted because of the Coronavirus and therefore affect the provision of services to clients.
If staff are required to self isolate, depending on the business, they may be able to conduct some activities remotely. In other cases the reduced capacity should be estimated and mitigating factors implemented.
Staff who fall ill will be unavailable to the organisation and subject to the usual sickness procedures. Other staff may have an increased risk of falling ill.
Staff can be cross-trained to cover roles but in some cases the service to customers will be degraded.
In this case, clear communication to clients is essential.
There is already advice to restrict travel to the worst affected areas, and travel may become further restricted.
This could impact your business operations and alternative means of meeting should be explored.
Supply Chain Disruption
It is unclear how supply chains may be disrupted due to the Coronavirus, but travel restrictions and staffing issues could have a negative impact.
As with any supply chain disruption it is important to consider:
- Current and future requirements,
- Current stock holding,
- Alternative suppliers.
Responding to Illness
It’s important to promote the Government and NHS advice to prevent the spread of Coronavirus within your organisation.
You may also provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers and promote hand-washing.
Should members of organisation fall ill, it’s important to inform those who could be affected.
Developing a Coronavirus Policy will help you to take a fast and considered response to the situation.
Business Continuity Planning
Review your business continuity management programme to ensure that the disruptions caused by Coronavirus have been addressed.
Ensure that everyone with responsibilities in the business continuity plan are aware of their responsibilities and have the resources they need.
Update contact details so that staff can be informed of any invocation of the plan.
While Coronavirus has the potential to cause a major disruption, it should be treated in a similar way to other disruptive events.
Your ISO Management System can be used to mitigate these risks and ensure the business continues to operate.
Contact Assent for assistance with ISO Certification or Business Continuity Planning.
Link: COVID-19 Coronavirus – Advice to Clients
Source: Assent Information Services