On Wednesday 19 August Finch Consulting hosted our very first Virtual Surgery Day.
The event was themed “Life after Lockdown”. Finch had always intended to hold another surgery day event after the success of a similar one in February of this year. That event was held prior to the COVID pandemic reaching the UK. Some 40 people attended the Nest for either the morning or afternoon session or in the case of some attendees they stayed for the whole day. Finch had started planning the next event when the pandemic reached England and large group conferences were no longer possible. Finch like every other business has had to adapt their working practices to accommodate operating in the new normal. The decision to live stream the next event was made welcome the First Finch Virtual Surgery Day.
The event covered a range of topics related to health, safety and environmental compliance and aimed to provide the attendees with advice on ensuring business risks other than COVID. From a step by step guide to risk assessments and how this relates to ensuring premises are COVID secure to mitigate the risk of enforcement action, to meeting environmental obligations, memory retention, PUWER, the maintenance of machinery and the risk associated with starting it up after a period non operation.
The presentations where both informative and provided tips to the attendees for achieving and maintaining compliance with health, safety, and environmental legislation:
- Melvin Sandell advised us to communicate your risk assessments to staff and those who need to abide by them and you can find yourself in trouble even if a risk eventuates which is not identified by your risk assessment.
- Susan Dearden told us that the law does not require the removal of all risk only to take RP steps to mitigate the risks that are in your control. For example, in the event of an effective vaccine being found you cannot force employees to vaccinate.
- Martin White talked about training and helping memory retention. It is normal to forget some of what we have learnt but there are techniques to help aid memory retention.
- Clare Fowell explained the need for compliance with environmental legislation, as Regulators will not accept COVID-19 as an excuse for non-compliance. She also confirmed the current position on the recycling of COVID related waste – it cannot be recycled.
- Stephen Bennett reinforced the fact that electricity is dangerous and the need to keep on top of internal safety procedures. Dutyholders should be aware of missing links in their safety management systems due to staff absences which could increase workplace risks.
- Trevor Howard and Alan Pressley advised the attendees on the importance of factory acceptance tests and how ensuring matters are right at that stage can save time and money in the future and will ensure that the product you actually want arrives at your site.
- Tristan Pulford and Richard Hoyle spoke about the risks associated with restarting machinery after a period of inactivity, statutory inspections and maintenance schedules. One of the key messages from the presentation was the need to follow maintenance schedules for both machinery in use and those machines which are inactive and how a failure to do this may have dire consequences.
Joint Head of Legal Julia Thomas who chaired the event said, “We are continuously finding ways to meet the needs of our clients in the “New Normal”. The event on Wednesday was our first virtual event but it will not our last. Thank you to Digital Hippo Media for their assistance with this event. We highly recommend their services and look forward to working with them on future events”.
Head of Legal Susan Dearden commented “We have got very used to events from our desktops during lockdown so having a virtual surgery was a natural progression for our training delivery. I was delighted so many tuned in to hear from Finch’s experts on a range of practical ‘life after lockdown‘ topics. For anyone who missed it, edited vodcast versions of each session will shortly be available for purchase.”