By now, staff in dealerships across the UK will be familiar with Covid-19 workplace protocols and government guidance on limiting the transmission of the virus.
As we look to restrictions being eased, it’s an ideal time to reassess these procedures and begin the preparations to open your glistening, sanitised dealership doors once again.
We have put together some reminders to help you and your team reduce risk when face-to-face service is able to resume.
Fresh air ventilation
One of the positive things about the structure and layout of a car dealership is that it is typically light and airy, with high ceilings and dedicated ‘private’ areas for customers to speak with their sales executive.
However, you should also consider ways to improve ventilation.
Where possible, open doors and windows to increase and maintain the supply of fresh air.
Mechanical systems such as ceiling fans can also help to prevent pockets of stagnant air in occupied spaces, provided there is good ventilation in the area.
While customers are absent from the dealership, it’s an ideal time to carry out maintenance on your air conditioning systems – especially if they have not been in regular use.
Usually when air conditioning is used, windows and doors are closed to help maintain the required temperature.
However, in this case the opposite is required – you must also have an adequate supply of fresh air and ventilation.
If not, there is a danger that virus droplets from an infected person could be spread further than they would normally.
If you use a centralised ventilation system that removes and circulates air to different rooms or areas, it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply.
Likewise, if an employee or customer is driving a vehicle, ensure the fresh air circulation setting is selected.
Air conditioning systems that use a mixture of extracted air from the room with fresh air and then return it to the room can be used, as this increases the fresh air ventilation rate.
If you have employees still working on-site or visiting the showroom during lockdown, the usual Covid-19 cleaning regimes should be adhered to, according to government guidance on decontamination*.
During this time, and also once the dealership is open again, deep cleaning should be carried out to offer further protection to staff and customers.
This can be done through traditional deep cleaning services or misting treatments.
Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, Gallagher has been supporting clients with an anti-viral disinfecting service provided through one of our partners and suitable for application to both property and vehicles.
The service uses hospital-grade disinfectant that has anti-viral properties that remain effective for up to seven days, and is carried out by trained technicians who use specialist equipment and protective clothing.
Please get in touch with our team if you would like to find out more.
If any new employees have joined your team recently, you must ensure they receive the appropriate Covid-specific health and safety training.
The HSE has produced a guide for employers on how to talk to workers about reducing the risk of the spread of the virus, covering everything from organising the workplace to cleaning and sanitising**.
It’s just as important for your existing staff to revisit the government guidance and receive refresher training.
Covid-19 risk assessment validation
While the health, safety and welfare of staff and customers is key, there are also legal and financial implications to consider when implementing Covid-19 protocols.
Insurers will expect organisations to be compliant with existing legal obligations regarding their duty of care.
Having a validated and successfully implemented Covid-19 risk assessment will enhance your mitigation and defensibility should a Covid-19 incident occur at your dealership.
This is where we can offer valuable support.
A Gallagher risk management consultant can arrange an initial video call with you before undertaking an independent, professional review of your Covid-19 risk assessment against existing legislation, Covid-19 guidance and protocols.
CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS
This note is not intended to give legal or financial advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon for such. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. In preparing this note we have relied on information sourced from third parties and we make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein. It reflects our understanding as at 11/01/21, but you will recognise that matters concerning Covid-19 are fast changing across the world. You should not act upon information in this bulletin nor determine not to act without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Our advice to our clients is as an insurance broker and is provided subject to specific terms and conditions, the terms of which take precedence over any representations in this document. No third party to whom this is passed can rely on it. We and our officers, employees or agents shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever arising from the recipient’s reliance upon any information we provide herein and exclude liability for the content to fullest extent permitted by law. Should you require advice about your specific insurance arrangements or specific claim circumstances, please get in touch with your usual contact at Gallagher.
This feature first appeared in Car Dealer issue 155. For more like it, view the latest edition by clicking below.
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