Willenhall based specialist component manufacturer Rio Stainless Engineering, produce precision machined components for a diverse range of industries from Gas, Oil and Nuclear, to Catering and Hydraulics. Like many UK based businesses, Rio needed to make rapid and significant changes to its operations because of the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak in order to ensure the welfare of its employees, and to maintain continuity of supply to its customers.
I was approached by Lisa Stokes, Financial Director of Rio Stainless to ask if I could assist with the company’s Covid-19 countermeasures. Lisa explained that the company had done a great deal of work to comply with the UK Government best practice guidelines to make the plant “COVID-Secure,” but wanted an independent check to ensure that nothing had been missed. The reason for the request Lisa explained was twofold:
1.To give all employees, especially those returning from furlough or self-isolation, confidence in the measures the company had taken to help protect them from the virus.
2.To similarly give customers confidence in continuity of supply, by taking all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the operation of the business.
We agreed that the first step should be to review the company’s current Risk Assessment using the latest UK Government guidelines as best practice, to ensure key hazards associated with the virus had been captured in the assessment and that any Control Measures identified were also in line with the relevant Government Guidelines, In this case for Offices & Contract Centres and Factories, Plants & Warehouses. This was carried out remotely using the Microsoft Teams platform as Rio were operating a strict “Essential Visitors Only” policy for the site at the time, as part of its current Covid-19 Risk Management Plans. Following the review, the Risk Assessment was updated, and Residual Risks re-calculated accordingly.
The next step was to conduct an on-site assessment to confirm that the precautions determined in the Risk Assessment were operating in practice. The guided assessment covered all areas within the plant and offices and included interviews with employees to ensure that communications on revised processes and practices had been effectively communicated.
Following the on-site visit, a COVID-Secure Site Verification Report was generated and shared with the client. The report detailed all areas assessed and associated control measures witnessed including where appropriate images as evidence. No significant areas of concern were reported and only minor areas for potential improvement were suggested in the final report.
Due to the success of this process with Rio, I now offer COVID-19 Secure Independent Verification as a service to other Clients.