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Self and Hasty  
#1 Posted : 14 September 2020 13:20:41(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Self and Hasty

Hi all,

Just had a college student (client is a group of colleges) complain that the BAME element in our Covid risk assessments is 'racial profiling' and 'race blaming'?

The consideration in the risk assessment is not invasive or personal, it's just an extra consideration based on the statistics that a disproportionate number of BAME persons are contracting and dying from Covid and what controls or support could be offered to mitigate that at our sites. This specific assessment was regarding the sites Prayer Room being missused; breaches of social distancing, no masks being worn, eating, ignoring the room capacity, and abuse to cleaning staff, so I've closed the prayer room until it can be better controlled.

It wasn't my decision to put the BAME element into the Covid assessments, it's there in previous RA's by the Client which I've been using as a template, but on this element the subject pushed back and I want some clarity on the appropriateness of identifying them as an at risk group due to the statistics?

"We have seen disproportionate numbers of BAME doctors and other healthcare workers die from COVID-19:

  • 21% of all staff are BAME – 63% of healthcare workers who died were BAME.
  • 20% of nursing staff are BAME – 64% of nurses who died were BAME.
  • 44% of medical staff are BAME – 95% of doctors who died were BAME.

(Figures from March and April 2020 - source)

PHE’s review of disparities in risks and outcomes of COVID-19 found that:

  • the highest age standardised diagnosis rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 population were in people of black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males) and the lowest were in people of white ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males)
  • after accounting for the effect of sex, age, deprivation and region, people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death when compared to people of white British ethnicity.
  • People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to white British."

Any feedback or suggestions welcome, as I said this isn't my choice to put this element into the RA, but the complaint has come to me.

Roundtuit  
#2 Posted : 14 September 2020 13:36:18(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

The WOKE generation don't catch Covid much less suffer any symptoms or acknowledge cold hard fact.

Take a deep breath and resist the temptation to introduce their backside to your boot.

thanks 2 users thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC), Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#3 Posted : 14 September 2020 13:36:18(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

The WOKE generation don't catch Covid much less suffer any symptoms or acknowledge cold hard fact.

Take a deep breath and resist the temptation to introduce their backside to your boot.

thanks 2 users thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC), Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC)
Wailes900134  
#4 Posted : 14 September 2020 13:44:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Wailes900134

Hi, You wrote a risk assessment on the misuse of a prayer room? That makes no sense. I can see how you might have a general C19 assessment of the business and that misuse of the prayer room being a breach of the agreed control measures. In which case breaching the agreed control measures is the issue regardless of ethnicity. Would you be ok with young healthy white people breaching your agreed control measures? Or with them citing their statistical good fortune as a defence for doing so.
Self and Hasty  
#5 Posted : 14 September 2020 13:54:08(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Self and Hasty

Originally Posted by: Wailes900134 Go to Quoted Post
Hi, You wrote a risk assessment on the misuse of a prayer room? That makes no sense. I can see how you might have a general C19 assessment of the business and that misuse of the prayer room being a breach of the agreed control measures. In which case breaching the agreed control measures is the issue regardless of ethnicity. Would you be ok with young healthy white people breaching your agreed control measures? Or with them citing their statistical good fortune as a defence for doing so.

Sorry, think I've not explained myself properly, each and every room being used at the colleges is undergoing a risk assessment, to ensure that the control systems we've put in place are sufficient and operational in mitigating the risk as far as reasonably possible. During the risk assessment of the Prayer Room the above breaches were noted and so the room has been shut down until we can control it, no other rooms have had this issue. The BAME element is in lots of the Covid RA's not just for this prayer room.

The breaches are unacceptable regardless of who is breaching, that isn't the issue, the breaches are identified and the initial solution is locking the door to the room till we can control it better. The issue is that a student has taken umbridge to is issues of race being asked in a risk assessment. The BAME element has been included by the colleges when the higher risk and mortality was highlighted externally.

Todai  
#6 Posted : 14 September 2020 13:57:49(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Todai

Originally Posted by: Self and Hasty Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: Wailes900134 Go to Quoted Post
Hi, You wrote a risk assessment on the misuse of a prayer room? That makes no sense. I can see how you might have a general C19 assessment of the business and that misuse of the prayer room being a breach of the agreed control measures. In which case breaching the agreed control measures is the issue regardless of ethnicity. Would you be ok with young healthy white people breaching your agreed control measures? Or with them citing their statistical good fortune as a defence for doing so.

Sorry, think I've not explained myself properly, each and every room being used at the colleges is undergoing a risk assessment, to ensure that the control systems we've put in place are sufficient and operational in mitigating the risk as far as reasonably possible. During the risk assessment of the Prayer Room the above breaches were noted and so the room has been shut down until we can control it, no other rooms have had this issue. The BAME element is in lots of the Covid RA's not just for this prayer room.

The breaches are unacceptable regardless of who is breaching, that isn't the issue, the breaches are identified and the initial solution is locking the door to the room till we can control it better. The issue is that a student has taken umbridge to is issues of race being asked in a risk assessment. The BAME element has been included by the colleges when the higher risk and mortality was highlighted externally.

I think you've went a bit OTT with doing each room. do a generic one, the BAME consideration is a good point in general for perhaps a posted but not required within the RA. The controls should be proficent for everyone. if you're adding this, is this because BAME have to stand further away? more spread apart? etc etc.  however, i do have issue with students complaing when you're hightlighting facts. but thats the era we live in. 

Self and Hasty  
#7 Posted : 14 September 2020 14:07:22(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Self and Hasty

We do have 'generic' classroom risks/controls which are included in the relevant classrooms risk assessments, but only half the classrooms are standard classrooms, the other half are workshops, studios, salons, theatres, darkrooms, garages, libraries, shops, science labs, cafeterias, kitchens, etc.

Whilst many elements and controls are the same its very lazy to just do a generic risk assessment for all rooms and hope for the best, the differences we've found between activities and therefore control measures have been vast and there simply isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for colleges.

I've spoken with peers in schools and colleges and I'm glad I'm at the group of colleges I'm at for this client as they have secured resources to be able to afford excellent systems of control, other colleges and schools (apparently) have little to no control or enforcement in place.

MrBrightside  
#8 Posted : 14 September 2020 14:08:04(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MrBrightside

Personally, stuff like BAME has no place in a workplace risk assessment and I would advise that anyone puting this in assessments is on a very slippery slope.

thanks 3 users thanked MrBrightside for this useful post.
webstar on 15/09/2020(UTC), CptBeaky on 15/09/2020(UTC), rach108 on 15/09/2020(UTC)
Todai  
#9 Posted : 14 September 2020 14:10:02(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Todai

Originally Posted by: Self and Hasty Go to Quoted Post

We do have 'generic' classroom risks/controls which are included in the relevant classrooms risk assessments, but only half the classrooms are standard classrooms, the other half are workshops, studios, salons, theatres, darkrooms, garages, libraries, shops, science labs, cafeterias, kitchens, etc.

Whilst many elements and controls are the same its very lazy to just do a generic risk assessment for all rooms and hope for the best, the differences we've found between activities and therefore control measures have been vast and there simply isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for colleges.

I've spoken with peers in schools and colleges and I'm glad I'm at the group of colleges I'm at for this client as they have secured resources to be able to afford excellent systems of control, other colleges and schools (apparently) have little to no control or enforcement in place.

its not lazy, its smart and its not hope for the best either if you do it properly. You can make a risk assessment for general movement around the college or something. each room is a wasteful use of time and money. IMO. 

Self and Hasty  
#10 Posted : 14 September 2020 14:10:53(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Self and Hasty

Originally Posted by: MrBrightside Go to Quoted Post

Personally, stuff like BAME has no place in a workplace risk assessment and I would advise that anyone puting this in assessments is on a very slippery slope.

Indeed, I wasn't sure of it when I saw it in there, though I do understand why it's included, but when it was flagged up by a student I thought I'd ask the forums hive mind.

andybz  
#11 Posted : 14 September 2020 14:29:31(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
andybz

The problem is the facts do not tell the full story. The death rate for BAME persons may be disproportionate but that does not necessarily mean that it is their ethnicity directly that is causing this. Obesity, underlying health issues (e.g. Type 2 diabetes), home living arrangements, nature of job done will also have an influence and these factors may not be equal for the whole population.

Another thing to bear in mind is that for younger people (under 60) the death rate having contracted COVID is very low. The fact that it may be double for certain parts of the population does not really mean it is a major factor (i.e. double very low is still very low).

I suspect that removing reference to BAME will make no substantial difference to your risk controls so why include it?

thanks 2 users thanked andybz for this useful post.
Hsquared14 on 15/09/2020(UTC), Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC)
Hsquared14  
#12 Posted : 14 September 2020 14:48:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

I thought the higher number of deaths in the BAME community orginated from "systemic" racism including elements of BAME individuals being given less effective PPE, less access to PPE, working in jobs where the exposure risk is higher, living in substandard / overcrowded housing plus a host of social factors.  I thought it had been shown that being BAME in it's own right was not an issue ie BAME individuals are not genetically pre-disposed to contract or die from C19 hence including it in a risk assessment could / would be interpreted as systemic racism in it's own right?

biker1  
#13 Posted : 14 September 2020 15:48:43(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

Originally Posted by: MrBrightside Go to Quoted Post

Personally, stuff like BAME has no place in a workplace risk assessment and I would advise that anyone puting this in assessments is on a very slippery slope.

I thought a basic element of a risk assessment was identifying who could be harmed, and how. Seems like an issue where you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
thanks 1 user thanked biker1 for this useful post.
Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC)
Wailes900134  
#14 Posted : 15 September 2020 05:11:13(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Wailes900134

Originally Posted by: biker1 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: MrBrightside Go to Quoted Post
Personally, stuff like BAME has no place in a workplace risk assessment and I would advise that anyone puting this in assessments is on a very slippery slope.
I thought a basic element of a risk assessment was identifying who could be harmed, and how. Seems like an issue where you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
If characteristics which may require increased levels of protection are to be included in the control strategy I would suggest that you don't cherry pick. Age, underlying conditions etc may have at least as much evidence as ethnicity in the charts and data available. I'm not seeing much evidence of people being damned for genuine attempts at risk control (possibly because everyone largely agrees on how inept the govt has been) but I can see how the situation as described in the original posting might be questioned rather critically.
CptBeaky  
#15 Posted : 15 September 2020 11:49:31(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
CptBeaky

I can't see why BAME needed addressing specifically in the RA. You don't need specific controls for specific ethnic groups. As long as your controls are sufficient then everyone should be receiving an adequate level of protection.

Until there is hard science to suggest the increased risk is soley down to ethnicity, rather than socioeconmic reasons (such as the ones outlined by @andybz) then it could be considered racial profiling. After all you would basically be saying that because this person has a specific skin colour they live a specfic life style.

I understand the urge to include it in order to protect people to the best of your ability, but it will undoubtedly throw up more problems that it solves.

thanks 2 users thanked CptBeaky for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 15/09/2020(UTC), Wailes900134 on 15/09/2020(UTC)
achrn  
#16 Posted : 16 September 2020 08:21:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: Wailes900134 Go to Quoted Post

If characteristics which may require increased levels of protection are to be included in the control strategy I would suggest that you don't cherry pick. Age, underlying conditions etc may have at least as much evidence as ethnicity in the charts and data available. I'm not seeing much evidence of people being damned for genuine attempts at risk control (possibly because everyone largely agrees on how inept the govt has been) but I can see how the situation as described in the original posting might be questioned rather critically.

You are assuming the OP hasn't included age, underlying conditions etc - these could have been in the RA and no-one has complained about them.

FWIW, we have closed our prayer room in head office too - it's classed as a meeting room and all the meeting rooms are closed.  Our RA considers each room in the building, though not individually, by category (meeting room - toilets - changing room - kitchen - open plan office - IT room - server room - plant room - etc).  Some of these categories only have one in teh building, some have many.

thanks 1 user thanked achrn for this useful post.
Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC)
Kate  
#17 Posted : 16 September 2020 08:27:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

This isn't race blaming, it is protecting those who may be more vulnerable due to their race.  It's not about BAME individuals spreading the virus, it is about the effects on them if they catch it.  Maybe it hasn't come across this way to the person who complained.

Risk assessments have always needed to address individual vulnerability, such as pregnancy and various health conditions such as asthma that can be exacerbated by workplace conditions.  Manual handling risk assessments may distinguish between men and women and we don't complain that this is sex discrimination.

The government guidance about this in businesses (I haven't looked at the guidance for education) is that being BAME is a risk factor and needs to be considered (alongside health conditions, age and so on), and that extra measures can be taken to protect the more vulnerable.  These extra measures can include home working, a preferential position in a workplace further away from others, or a change in the type of work to one with less risk of catching Covid.

It makes me uncomfortable too, but I can't argue against the logic of it.

thanks 3 users thanked Kate for this useful post.
achrn on 16/09/2020(UTC), Wailes900134 on 16/09/2020(UTC), Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC)
Wailes900134  
#18 Posted : 16 September 2020 09:08:38(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Wailes900134

Originally Posted by: achrn Go to Quoted Post

You are assuming the OP hasn't included age, underlying conditions etc - 

I didn't assume anything. I merely responded to the original request for help/opinion based on the information the poster provided in the beginning and with a subsequent clarification. Although the use of other rooms was RA'd (clarified later) the only room closed in his reponse was the prayer room (for breaches of control measures) and the only further consideration of personal vulnerability mentioned was being BAME.

The further discussions and contributions do I think, serve as a good example of the sensitivity of such aspects and the straight forward integrity with which they need to be handled... and in that i'm not assuming that anybody is failing to do so.

achrn  
#19 Posted : 17 September 2020 09:22:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

I note that HSE guidance explicitly states that you should include consideration of BAME in your risk assessment:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htm : "The Public Health England report Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 shows that some groups of people may be at more risk of being infected and/or an adverse outcome if infected. You should consider this in your risk assessment."

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm : "The higher-risk groups include those who: are older males, have a high body mass index (BMI), have health conditions such as diabetes, are from some black, Asian or minority ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds"

So if you you don't consider BAME background specifically in your risk assessment, you're not following HSE guidance.  That guidance does say "There are currently no expectations of additional controls for these groups." but also "you need to support these individuals/groups in your workforce. You should support them by ensuring that: you emphasise the importance of individual and wider workforce engagement, buy-in and cooperation to ensure controls are applied stringently, [continues]" 

This gets very sticky, with respect to having a special additional emphasis to anyone BAME that they really must follow the rules…?  I can see that genuinely upsetting anyone from such a racial background, who could (justifiably, I think) believe they are being unfairly singled out.

thanks 3 users thanked achrn for this useful post.
Kate on 17/09/2020(UTC), Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC), nic168 on 22/09/2020(UTC)
Self and Hasty  
#20 Posted : 17 September 2020 10:03:03(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Self and Hasty

Originally Posted by: achrn Go to Quoted Post

I note that HSE guidance explicitly states that you should include consideration of BAME in your risk assessment:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htm : "The Public Health England report Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 shows that some groups of people may be at more risk of being infected and/or an adverse outcome if infected. You should consider this in your risk assessment."

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm : "The higher-risk groups include those who: are older males, have a high body mass index (BMI), have health conditions such as diabetes, are from some black, Asian or minority ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds"

So if you you don't consider BAME background specifically in your risk assessment, you're not following HSE guidance.  That guidance does say "There are currently no expectations of additional controls for these groups." but also "you need to support these individuals/groups in your workforce. You should support them by ensuring that: you emphasise the importance of individual and wider workforce engagement, buy-in and cooperation to ensure controls are applied stringently, [continues]" 

This gets very sticky, with respect to having a special additional emphasis to anyone BAME that they really must follow the rules…?  I can see that genuinely upsetting anyone from such a racial background, who could (justifiably, I think) believe they are being unfairly singled out.

Thanks for this, yes this is why it's been included in the first place. I'm glad I posted this query as it's obviously a grey area for others not just me.

I think because they are identified as an at risk group, for contraction (whether that be a socio-economic or cultural issue or not) and more importantly for an almost doubled mortality rate upon contraction, then the aspect should still be considered and support and consideration offered. But as others have said, putting specific controls in place based on ethnicity is a minefield.

I'll continue to consider it in each risk assessment where valid but will tread carefully.

Thank you all.

thanks 1 user thanked Self and Hasty for this useful post.
Kate on 17/09/2020(UTC)
AcornsConsult  
#21 Posted : 18 September 2020 06:57:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
AcornsConsult

Did I read the OP correctly that the BAME RA came in because of the prayer room?   If so, I'd start to feel very uncomfortable.   Did it mean there was a BAME for the whole site and by the way the breaches were higher in that room/ area.  If the latter the surely that can either be closed for the reasons above that it is a meeting room, could you use the elders to help educate and implement.

Self and Hasty  
#22 Posted : 18 September 2020 07:05:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Self and Hasty

Originally Posted by: AcornsConsult Go to Quoted Post

Did I read the OP correctly that the BAME RA came in because of the prayer room?   If so, I'd start to feel very uncomfortable.   Did it mean there was a BAME for the whole site and by the way the breaches were higher in that room/ area.  If the latter the surely that can either be closed for the reasons above that it is a meeting room, could you use the elders to help educate and implement.

No, you did not read the OP correctly.

Joe Halliday  
#23 Posted : 18 September 2020 08:07:00(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Joe Halliday

Hi,

I would suggest that you are purley advising based on statistical facts, surely personnel can understand that you are doing this to help, I would continue to show your duty of care and due dilligence as you are currently demonstrating, you are tackleing the proplem at source and not  "beating around the Bush"  for fear of being marginalised for race profiling, you are acting on facts!.

Maybe there is a genetical reason for the higher mortality rate, if so, then all the more reason to focus on the issue in order to help. Some personel may be ill disiplined with adhering to control measures, I would monitor this closely and educate all personnel not co-operating, remember the last line of the hierarchy of control "Discipline" that appiles to all.

You may get push back on this, but as long as you can justify your reasons then race should not be brought into it.

Edited by user 18 September 2020 08:26:58(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Self and Hasty on 18/09/2020(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#24 Posted : 18 September 2020 08:27:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Discipline? Not with college students - that tends to terminate your career as they launch a Social Media tirade of character and personallity assassination until your employer for peace and quiet indicates it is time to go.

Roundtuit  
#25 Posted : 18 September 2020 08:27:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Discipline? Not with college students - that tends to terminate your career as they launch a Social Media tirade of character and personallity assassination until your employer for peace and quiet indicates it is time to go.

stevedm  
#26 Posted : 22 September 2020 05:27:44(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
stevedm

this seems to be down to a basic communication issue....words and how they are put across are very important...saying that the paryer room can be misused would be an afront to any religion...was anyone from that group involved in the production of the RA?

My advice would be to involve them in the RA and open the prayer room... :)

The medical information on BAME is to inform you of the possible propulation vulnerability...you don't just stick it in...

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