Supporting Changes in Business Practices Under COVID-19

We have all been doing things slightly differently in 2020, but, as the New Year approaches, 2021 might seem like business as usual rather than exceptional times.

As we have changed the ways in which we work, travel, shop, socialise we have found ourselves planning for and performing new duties. Some of these duties we had never considered in “more normal” times and some will stay with us for a long time to come.

As the Events Industry fixes one eye on its reopening (following the UK Government’s Winter Plan launch last month), it will need to consider how Hygiene and Virus Control policies and procedures are maintained. In other words, it will need a robust framework to support both mandatory and optional commitments to employees, suppliers, clients and attendees of events to come.

Certification to the Safe2Attend™ Standard provides that framework by giving structure, accountability and external verification to the all the Hygiene and Virus Control elements that players within the Events Industry will need in 2021 and beyond.

The Standard is based on advice and best practices as defined by the events industry, by local, regional and national governments and by national and international organisations such as Public Health England, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It comprises two main sections:

  1. Principles – elements with which all Certified parties must comply.
  2. Requirements – elements that apply to certain businesses, operations or situations.

The Principles reflect a company’s strategic approach to hygiene and virus control, they include:

  • Policy statements
  • Commitment from leadership / management
  • Assessment and audit processes
  • Documentation management and use of the Certification

The Requirements describe what is done at an operational level to ensure hygiene and virus control, they include measure to manage:

  • Personal Safety
  • Social Distancing
  • People Management
  • Other Identified Risks

At the start of 2020, few business would have conducted a COVID-19 Risk Assessment, even those that had heard of the Wuhan outbreak in late 2019. Now they are commonplace, and in many instances mandatory.

COVID-19 Risk Assessment and COVID-19 Risk Management are disciplines that are now needed and need to be built into the business-as-usual. To ensure this, Principle P4a of the Safe2Attend™ Standard states that: “Entity shall assess the Risks” and P4b goes on to say “Controls shall be applied to treat and to manage all applicable Risks”.

At the start of 2020, few business in the Events Industry would have been proactively monitoring the UK Government’s health warnings and health advice. That has changed (we all now read and watch the Coronavirus news), and the Safe2Attend™ Standard fully supports this change.
As 2020 becomes 2021, as the new norm emerges, new duties, new business functions and new responsibilities will need to be allocated, conducted and monitored alongside our old and existing ways of working. Requirement R5.6 is “Allocation of the role responsible for the monitoring of sources of relevant information, guidelines, regulations and laws” meaning that certified companies must appoint a named individual to keep the business aware and current in Hygiene and Virus Control matters.

More specifically, Requirement R5.2 looks for a “Contact plan for relevant local authorities with appointed key contacts for each”. Our contacts have always included Health and Safety officials but now the net is cast more widely to include those focusing purely on health issues, tiered restrictions and infection rates.

These are just a few examples of how Certification to the Safe2Attend™ Standard provides an effective way for the Events Industry – with built-in accountability – to ensure that businesses can operate successfully in a safe, confident and responsible environment. It provides structure for the new business-as-usual to operate for COVID-19 Risk Assessments and other critical and mandatory business functions.

To familiarise yourselves further with that structure, you can download the Safe2Attend™ Certification Standard here, or contact us to find out more about how Safe2Attend™ Certification can help you carry out your events and event-related services in a safe way.