Covid-19 Risk Assessment

Task:

To help manage the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 within the business.

Work includes:
Working with the offices on computer workstations, using tea stops, welfare facilities and visitors to the premises.

Persons Affected:

Employees, Contractors/Agency workers, Visitors, Delivery Personnel, Third Party Persons, Members of the Public
Clinically vulnerable staff
Clinically Extremely vulnerable staff

Hazard

Hazard Effect

Control Measures

Planning work before start up:

Potential poor planning could lead to more people in close proximity with one another than is necessary including those within vulnerable groups aiding the spread of the virus and risking unnecessary illness

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

  • Staff should work from home if at all possible. The company has considered who is needed to be on-site; for example:
    • Workers in roles critical for business and operational continuity, safe facility management, or regulatory requirements and which cannot be performed remotely.
    • Workers in critical roles which might be performed remotely, but who are unable to work remotely due to home circumstances or the unavailability of safe enabling equipment.
    • The minimum number of people needed are to be on site (enough to operate safely and effectively), for example, workers deemed necessary to carry out physical works, supervise work, or conduct work in order to operate safely.
  • Where clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) individuals cannot work from home, they are offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to stay 2m away from others.
  • The company tries where possible to enable workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate.
  • Reasonable adjustments will continue to be in place to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers along with other protected groups.
  • The company will consider staggered arrival and departure times where necessary at work (to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace, taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics.
  • The company will involve and communicate appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.

Managing those working from home:

Those working from home can become isolated, uninformed of procedural changes, without access to safety procedures and suffer with poor mental health

Unnecessary accidents, loneliness, out of date with information/working unsafely, or providing others with wrong information.

Poor mental health leading to long term problems

The company will:

  • Provide support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.
  • Monitor the wellbeing of people who are working from home and helping them stay connected to those operating in an outdoor environment, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.
  • Keep in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements including their welfare, mental and physical health and personal security.
  • Provide equipment for people to work from home safely and effectively, for example, remote access to work systems and or adequate workstation set up/equipment.

Arriving and leaving work:

During structured start and finish times, there is an increased number of workers in close proximity at entrance/exit points raising the risk of the spread of the virus

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • The company may stagger start and finish times where necessary (depending on numbers attending work) to reduce congestion at set times.
  • Provide handwashing facilities, or hand sanitiser where not possible, at entry and exit points.
  • Provide additional sanitisation for touch-based security devices such as keypads or defining alternatives for entry/exit points where appropriate, for example, deactivating pass readers at turnstiles in favour of showing a pass to security personnel at a distance.

Moving around work:

Workers will be required to move around the working areas to carry out their work, handle waste and for general access/egress.

This can increase potential contact with others and surfaces risking the spread of the virus

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • Increase the number of workstation desks to ensure 2m distancing can be maintained to reduce the risk of contact at work.
  • Reduce movement by discouraging non-essential trips within building for example, restricting access to some areas, encouraging use of telephones where permitted, and cleaning them between use.
  • Use signage to remind and inform people to allow distancing and controlled flows of people moving throughout the site. E.g. in the front lobby area.
  • Separate the building into working zones to keep different groups of workers physically separated as much as practical (different floors and tea stops, Smarter Retail activities) – this is already in place.
  • Reduce maximum occupancy for the lift, providing hand sanitiser near to the operation of lifts and encourage employees to use the stairs wherever possible. (Making sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts).

Workstations:

Workers will be required to work at their workstations and move around in close proximity to others.

This can increase potential contact with others and surfaces risking the spread of the virus

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • Increase the number of workstations to enable social distancing whilst at your workstations.
  • Use signage to remind workers keep social distance e.g. In the lobby area.
  • Only where it is not possible to move workstations further apart, arrange people to work side by side or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face.
  • Manage occupancy levels to enable social distancing by some employees working from home.
  • Avoid use of hot desks and spaces and, where not possible, clean before each use.
  • Deep cleaning will happen before the opening of the building (deep clean fogging of the premises) and a clean-up time will be planned with the day for additional cleaning of workstations and areas.
  • If people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then both employers and employees are to re-assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment

Meetings:

Groups of persons can gather for meetings and share equipment, pens etc, this in turn breaches government guidance and can aid the spread of the virus leading to illness.

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • Use remote working tools to avoid in-person meetings where possible with third parties.
  • Ensure only the absolutely minimum/necessary participants should attend meetings and should maintain 2m separation throughout.
  • Avoid sharing pens and or other objects – wipes will be available for wiping down items that have been shared.
  • Provide hand sanitiser stations throughout the building and issue to individual employees.
  • Hold meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible.
  • For areas where regular meetings take place, use signage to help remind people to maintain social distancing.

Common areas:

These could be meeting rooms, canteens, rest areas, dry rooms etc.

Use of these areas means repeated contact with surfaces and potential close contact with others.

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • Work collaboratively with Smarter Retail (multi-tenant building) to ensure consistency across common areas, for example, tea stops, the lobby and staircase.
  • Stagger break times to reduce pressure on break rooms or places to eat/use of kitchen areas.
  • Provide paper towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities and within the kitchen area.
  • Use safe outdoor areas for breaks.
  • Create additional space by using other parts of the workplace freed up by remote working.
  • Encourage workers to bring their own food.
  • Encourage staff to remain on-site and, when not possible, maintaining social distancing while off-site.

Visits to site:

Visits to site maybe site inspections, installations etc This in turn will potentially increase contact with persons and surfaces.

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • Where possible ensure all third-party persons coming into the workplace are avoided.
  • Encourage visits via remote connection/working where this is an option.
  • Ensure only works that are classed as essential for the safe operation of the company be permitted entry.
  • Where site visits are required, provide site guidance on social distancing and hygiene to explain to visitors on or before arrival.
  • Contractors are to declare that they are free of any signs and symptoms and are not currently required to be in any self-isolation period
  • Ensure welfare facilities/sanitisation stations are made available and request that everyone should wash their hands upon entry to the premises or use the sanitiser stations available.
  • Limit the number of visitors at any one time.
  • Maintain a record of all visitors, if this is practical.
  • Revise visitor arrangements to ensure social distancing and hygiene, for example, where someone physically signs in with the same pen in receptions.

Delivered goods:

Drivers may be required to move around the working area / site to carry out their work, handle materials, waste for general access and egress.

This can increase potential contact with others and surfaces risking the spread of the virus

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • Revise pick-up and drop-off collection points, procedures, signage and markings.
  • Minimise unnecessary contact for example, non-contact deliveries where possible.
  • Consider methods to reduce frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.
  • Avoid delivery personnel coming into the premises where possible. Arrange for external doors to be locked and put a sign on the door with a contact number so that delivery drivers can ring and leave their deliveries outside.

Cleaning the site/workplace before work commences where work had stopped or partially operated.

Cleaning the workplace generally.

Should these standards not be adequate then persons touching surfaces may transfer the virus and spread contamination.

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

Cleaning site:

The company will:

  • Make sure that any site or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart.
  • Ensure a deep clean has been implemented using a fogging system prior to the office being used.
  • Ensure an assessment of all working areas that have been closed has taken place before restarting work to establish what requires cleaning.
  • Carry out cleaning procedures and provide hand sanitiser, before restarting work.
  • Check the need to service or adjust the air conditioning systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels or risk any infection spread by their period of sitting unused.
  • Ensure all water outlets are purged before building occupancy to control the risk of legionella to any persons.

Cleaning the Workplace:

The company will:

  • Ensure frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses will be carried out, using standard cleaning products.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as computer equipment and control panels etc, make sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for general waste inc. cleaning waste.
  • Clear workspaces and remove waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.
  • Ensure additional cleaning consideration should be given to areas that may not routinely cleaned such as door handles, light switches, banisters etc.
  • Provide hand sanitiser stations – these will be a minimum of 60% alcohol based to be effective.
  • Where cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then refer to the specific government guidance will be followed.

Employees will:

  • Sanitise all equipment after use using the wipes provided.
  • Assist with the clearing of workspaces and remove waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.
  • Be required to assist with cleaning of surfaces and used equipment in the workplace.
  • Be provided with sanitisers and anti-viral wipes (these will be specifically antiviral) and must clean down desk surfaces along with key boards / mice etc.

Emergency situations such as fire or First Aid emergencies increasing contact with other persons or surfaces that may be contaminated or may spread the virus to others

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

Note: The government advises: In an emergency, for example, an accident, fire or break-in, people should try but do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe.

The company will:

  • Ensure there are adequate numbers of supportive roles (Fire Wardens, First Aiders) and the emergency evacuation plan is adapted for changes during this time.
  • Any vulnerable persons (as listed or notified by the NHS) are not be considered as First Aiders.

All workers will:

  • Ensure people involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.

The company has researched guidance and will follow St John’s Ambulance advice regarding First Aid:

  • Usual First Aider contamination procedures should be followed.
  • Be aware of the risks to yourself and others e.g. when checking airways of a casualty etc.
  • Wear gloves or cover hands when dealing with open wounds.
  • Cover cuts and grazes on your hands with waterproof dressings.
  • Dispose of all waste safely.
  • Do not touch a wound with your bare hand.
  • Do not touch any part of a dressing that will come in contact with a wound.
  • Give early treatment to reduce the risk of it worsening, most cases do not involve getting close to a person.
  • Keep yourself updated with knowledge and advice.
  • Where CPR and defibrillation maybe required, AND there is a perceived risk of infection, rescuers should place a dry cloth/towel over victims’ mouth and nose (only) and attempt compressions only and early defibrillation until ambulance arrives.

Hand washing:

Inadequate welfare provision can lead to the uncontrolled spread of the virus

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

The company will:

  • Use signs to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency.
  • Provide hand sanitisers in multiple locations in addition to washrooms – these are specifically antiviral or a minimum of 60% alcohol based to be effective.
  • Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
  • Provide paper towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities and within the kitchen area.
  • Due to the layout of toilet facilities it may be that 2m distances cannot be maintained. Therefore, provide signage on entry doors advising a maximum number of persons to be present at any one time. Where necessary close toilet cubicles if this enables 2m distances to be maintained however ensure that the minimum number of facilities required for the workplace is not compromised.

Employees will:

  • Be encouraged to avoid touching their face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene including washing hands at regular intervals for at least twenty seconds on each occasion.
  • Use sanitisers and wipes to ensure they keep person and equipment hygiene

Personal Protective Equipment and Face coverings.

Inadequate provision, use, storage and maintenance of inappropriate PPE can lead to accident and injury or risk contamination and spread of COVID

Accident, injury, occupational ill health along with:

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

PPE:

  • Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.
  • The government advise: When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial in your workplace. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

The role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.

Face Coverings:

A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose.

Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law, including in the workplace. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one.

Where face coverings are worn:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it.
  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
  • Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • Change and wash your face covering daily.
  • If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste.
  • Practise social distancing wherever possible.

Persons in the workplace that are showing signs and symptoms (persistent cough or temperature)

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

  • All persons that show any of the government noted signs and symptoms should immediately self isolate for a period of seven days.
  • In addition, all persons that live with the affected person must also self isolate for fourteen days or undertake a test. This will include all persons that may be sharing accommodation for work purposes if they are working away from home.
  • Persons that show signs or symptoms whilst they are at work must go home immediately without delay and enter into self-isolation.
  • The company should carry out an investigation to determine who the employee has been in contact with and what locations within the business to implement a deep clean of those areas and any further isolation/testing recommendations that need to be carried out.
  • Where a COVID positive test has been carried out this may need to be reported to the HSE as a result of this investigation.
  • The Employer should not initially advise of contacting the NHS unless the signs and symptoms get progressively worse and do not show any signs of clearing up.
  • Where it is thought that any person has been present in a workplace that has signs and symptoms of the virus then a suitable deep clean of the affected area should be arranged before any person is allowed to return to this area.

Elderly (over 70’s), pregnant persons and other vulnerable people including extremely clinically vulnerable.

Passage of the virus through mouth, nose, eyes due to inhalation or due to contact by items which have the virus on them such as hands, fingers, cups etc.

Impact of COVID-19 infection is likely to be low unless the person is in a hight risk group, has an underlying heath condition or their immune system is otherwise compromised in which case the impact could be very serious up to and including death.

  • The Employer should identify any persons either in their employment or who may undertake voluntary works on their behalf that may be over 70 or are classed as clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable. If persons in these categories are identified then they should be removed from the workplace or requested not to attend for a period of 12 weeks (refer to current guidance).

Lack of communication to employees leading to workers not understanding the risks and controls in place and therefore contracting or spreading the virus

The company will:

  • Provide all employees with the contents of this risk assessment and the details of any signs and symptoms that they should be aware of and the steps they should take in the event that they experience any of the signs and symptoms.
  • Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, for example, signage or visual aids and before arrival, for example, by phone, on the website or by email.
  • Provide signage at entrances to the worksite to remind the public and workers to maintain social distancing.
  • Establish host responsibilities relating to COVID-19 and providing any necessary training for people who act as hosts for visitors.
  • Coordinate and work collaboratively with Smarter Retail and those who share working spaces.
  • Engage with workers through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.
  • Use visual communications, for example, signage, to explain safe working practices around the working site to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

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