The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has affected all areas of our lives – both personal and professional. We are going through a difficult time, but thanks to solidarity and cooperation, we will be able to overcome this crisis. At this point, it’s essential to be responsible, avoid risks, and act reasonably.

Here you will find the most important information about the coronavirus COVID-19 and the right way to conduct at work during this particular time.

 

COVID-19 General Policy

We are closely monitoring the situation regarding the COVID19 Coronavirus. The following document details the company’s response to the pandemic in order to control the spread of the virus and its potential impact on business continuity.

General information relating to the Coronavirus

What is Coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a virus that can be transmitted from person to person. Typical symptoms include fever, a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.

Generally, a coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

COVID-19 is a new strain of Coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan city, China but has since spread worldwide. This is a rapidly changing situation which is being monitored carefully.

How is Coronavirus spread?

Similar viruses are spread by droplets in coughs and sneezes.

How to avoid catching infections like Coronavirus

You can reduce your risk of getting and spreading respiratory infections by:

  • avoiding direct hand contact with your eyes, nose and mouth
  • maintaining good hand hygiene – washing hands with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser:
  • after coughing or sneezing
  • after going to the toilet
  • before eating and drinking
  • avoiding direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness and avoiding using their personal items such as their mobile phone
  • covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and disposing of them in the nearest waste bin after use

What will I need to do?

Publicise and share this with your teams, ensuring they are clear on this guidance. As this is an evolving situation, we recommend you use official sources for all the latest news and guidance.

Familiarise your business with the current government advice regarding management of COVID-19 (as summarised in this communication)

Guidance to Employees

All employees

Please be aware of the following procedures that should be followed by all employees:

  • Undertake regular personal hygiene procedures, using hot water and soap to wash hands.
  • Hand sanitiser readily available and should be used regularly.
  • Use of personal hand sanitiser should NOT replace good personal hygiene and operatives should continue to wash their hands where possible.
  • Employees should limit physical contact, including shaking of hands.
  • Consumption of food and drink should only be undertaken in designated areas and once thorough hygiene measures have been undertaken.
  • Operatives should ensure good personal hygiene after using toilet facilities.
  • Regularly wipe down workstations, vehicles interiors and general surfaces using appropriate wipes.

Customer facing employees

Please be aware of the following procedures in place in place for customer facing employees:

  • Undertake regular personal hygiene procedures, using hot water and soap to wash hands.
  • Hand sanitiser readily available to customer facing employees and should be used regularly.
  • If you are required to work in a customer’s house / office, you should take your issued hand sanitiser with you and use regularly.
  • Undertake personal risk assessment of the surroundings and people you come into contact with. If any customers display symptoms or appear to have poor personal hygiene, operatives should cease work, and contact their line manager.
  • Use of personal hand sanitiser should NOT replace good personal hygiene and operatives should continue to wash their hands where possible.
  • Employees should limit physical contact with customers, including shaking of hands.
  • Employees should not accept any food or drink from customers / tenants
  • Consumption of food and drink should only be undertaken in designated areas and once thorough hygiene measures have been undertaken.
  • Operatives should ensure good personal hygiene after using toilet facilities.

Meetings and Events

Please be aware of the following controls in place relating to meetings:

Non-essential travel restrictions
Inter-office travel ban to protect the spread between internal offices

Meetings can be held by Skype, Zoom, or by phone as relevant.
Cancellation of non-business critical large meetings, gatherings and events

Where attendance is required on site, all precautionary hygiene measures should be taken to control the spread of the virus.

Government advice to managing COVID-19 in the workplace

What to do if an employee becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19

  • If someone becomes unwell in the workplace, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If possible, find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.
  • The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and outline their current symptoms.
  • Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least 2 metres from other people.
  • They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag or pocket then throw the tissue in the bin. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
  • If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available.
  • Update your employer on any guidance you have received.
    What to do if a member of staff or the public with suspected COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace

For contacts of a suspected case in the workplace, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID19 are awaited. In particular, there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home. Most possible cases turn out to be negative. Therefore, until the outcome of test results is known there is no action that the workplace needs to take.

What to do if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace

  • Closure of the workplace is not recommended.
  • The management team of the workplace will be contacted by the PHE local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.
  • A risk assessment of each setting will be undertaken by the Health Protection Team with the lead responsible person. Advice on the management of staff and members of the public will be based on this assessment.
  • The Health Protection Team will also be in contact with the case directly to advise on isolation and identifying other contacts and will be in touch with any contacts of the case to provide them with appropriate advice.
  • Advice on cleaning of communal areas such as offices or toilets will be given by the Health Protection Team.

When individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

If a confirmed case is identified in your workplace, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant staff with advice. These staff include, any employee in close face-to-face or touching contact, talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the employee was symptomatic anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids close friendship groups or workgroups any employee living in the same household as a confirmed case

Contacts are not considered cases and if they are well, they are very unlikely to have spread the infection to others.

Those who have had close contact with an infected party:

  • will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the confirmed case and follow the stay at home guidance available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
  • they will be actively followed up by the Health Protection Team
  • if they develop new symptoms or their existing symptoms worsen within their 14-day observation period they should call NHS 111 for reassessment
  • if they become unwell with cough, fever or shortness of breath they will be tested for COVID-19
  • if they are unwell at any time within their 14-day observation period and they test positive for COVID-19 they will become a confirmed case and will be treated for the infection

Staff who have not had close contact with the original confirmed case do not need to take any precautions and can continue to attend work.

General Advice Numbers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline: If you do not have symptoms and are looking for general information, a free helpline has been set up on 0800 028 2816.

Please be aware that the advice and possible travel restrictions are being updated on a daily basis and our position may change in line with the official advice. Please see the link below which will lead you to the most recent updates:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

Personal hygiene – all stuff & customers should ensure that this handwash procedure is followed

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COVID-19 Management Responsibility Policy

Before reopening

Objective: To make sure that any site or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart, including:

  • an assessment for all sites, or parts of sites, that have been closed, before restarting work
  • carrying out cleaning procedures and providing hand sanitiser before restarting work

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.
  2. Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings or you are unsure, advice can be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.
  3. Opening windows and doors frequently to encourage ventilation, where possible.

Keeping the workplace clean

Objective: To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products.
  2. Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as door handles and keyboards, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements.
  3. Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.
  4. Limiting or restricting use of high-touch items and equipment, for example, printers or whiteboards.
  5. If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should follow these steps
  6. cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected Coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people
  7. wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning. These should be double-bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished
  8. using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles
  9. if an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with Coronavirus (COVID-19), use protection for the eyes, mouth and nose, as well as wearing gloves and an apron
  10. wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning

 Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The minimum PPE to be worn for cleaning an area where a person with possible or confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) is disposable gloves and an apron. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds after all PPE has been removed.

If a risk assessment of the setting indicates that a higher level of virus may be present (for example, where unwell individuals have slept such as a hotel room or boarding school dormitory) or there is visible contamination with body fluids, then the need for additional PPE to protect the cleaner’s eyes, mouth and nose might be necessary.

Non-healthcare workers should be trained in the correct use of a surgical mask, to protect them against other people’s potentially infectious respiratory droplets when within 2 metres, and the mask use and supply of masks would need to be equivalent to that in healthcare environments.

Cleaning and disinfection

Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time, such as corridors, but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids can be cleaned thoroughly as normal.

All surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected, including:

  • objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells

Use disposable cloths or paper roll and disposable mop heads, to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings, following one of the options below:

  • use either a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine

or

  • a household detergent followed by disinfection (1000 ppm av.cl.). Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants

or

  • if an alternative disinfectant is used within the organisation, this should be checked and ensure that it is effective against enveloped viruses

Avoid creating splashes and spray when cleaning.

Any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of and should be put into waste bags as outlined below.

When items cannot be cleaned using detergents or laundered, for example, upholstered furniture and mattresses, steam cleaning should be used.

Any items that are heavily contaminated with body fluids and cannot be cleaned by washing should be disposed of.

Laundry

Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s items.

Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.

Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with your usual products, in line with the cleaning guidance above.

Waste

Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including disposable cloths and tissues):

  1. Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.
  2. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied.
  3. It should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage until the individual’s test results are known.

Waste should be stored safely and kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until negative test results are known, or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.

  • if the individual tests negative, this can be put in with the normal waste
  • if the individual tests positive, then store it for at least 72 hours and put in with the normal waste

If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate, arrange for collection as a Category B infectious waste either by your local waste collection authority if they currently collect your waste or otherwise by a specialist clinical waste contractor. They will supply you with orange clinical waste bags for you to place your bags into so the waste can be sent for appropriate treatment.

Hygiene: handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets

Objective: To help everyone keep good hygiene through the working day.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.
  2. Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain personal hygiene standards.
  3. Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms.
  4. Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
  5. Enhancing cleaning for busy areas.
  6. Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.
  7. Providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical driers.

Changing rooms and showers

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission in changing rooms and showers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Where shower and changing facilities are required, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
  2. Introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.

Handling goods, merchandise and other materials, and onsite vehicles

Objective: To reduce transmission through contact with objects that come into the workplace and vehicles at the worksite.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Cleaning procedures for goods and merchandise entering the site.
  2. Cleaning procedures for vehicles.
  3. Introducing greater handwashing and handwashing facilities for workers handling goods and merchandise and providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
  4. Regular cleaning of vehicles that workers may take home.
  5. Restricting non-business deliveries, for example, personal deliveries to workers.

More information can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres#offices-5-1

 

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