Policy Statement and COVID-19 Code of Practice

 

Introduction

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown is eased, we recognise that our organisation needs to return to normal operations where possible and adapt to new ways of working where required. This policy explains the changes to our working environment and new ways of working.

These adaptations have been informed by our COVID-19 risk assessment guide, the results of which can be found on https://www.staffassistuk.com/covid-19-risk-assessment-guide/.

We encourage you to let us know if you have any concerns, have identified any potential risks, or have any suggestions for further adaptations we can make – you can do this by raising concerns or making suggestions to [email protected] .

 

In advance of your return

We have identified the minimum number of workers needed to operate safely and effectively, while maintaining social distancing, in our work locations.

We are asking workers to attend work only where their role requires their physical presence. Workers who can work from home, such as support/administrative staff, should continue to do so.

Workers with serious underlying health conditions who have been advised to shield against coronavirus should continue to do so for the duration of their shielding period. Workers in other vulnerable groups, such as pregnant workers and those aged 70 or over, are being consulted individually about potential adaptations to their role.

 

If you, or someone you have been in contact with, has coronavirus symptoms

It is absolutely essential that if you, or anyone you live with, develops a:

Anyone with symptoms should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19 – see www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ for more information on how to get tested.

You should also not attend work and self-isolate if the NHS “test and trace” service alerts you that you have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus – see www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ for more information on what happens if NHS test and trace service contacts you.

In line with our sickness absence reporting procedure, you should notify your line manager by telephone before you are due to start work, or as soon as possible if that is not practical.

 

Travel to and from work

We encourage workers to minimise their use of public transport, including by walking or cycling where possible. If travelling by car, you must not car-share with anyone outside your household.

Where you need to use public transport, please think about social distancing, where possible staying two metres away from others and avoiding touching surfaces. If you can, wear a face covering on public transport.

Workers using public transport may find it helpful to refer to the Government’s guidance at www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers and www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering.

You should wash your hands thoroughly when you arrive at work, using the handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers provided. You should also wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you get home from work.

 

Working patterns

To reduce the risk of infection spread, we have introduced the following measures:

  • staggering the workforce’s start/end times and breaks;
  • Brakes have been staged on a rota bases at different times, so that we can minimise the interaction;
  • using “fixed teams or partnering” so each person works with only a few others;
  • rotating groups of workers, via a shift system;
  • increasing the space between the desks arrangements, where possible.

 

You should speak to your line manager if you have any specific needs around your working patterns, for example because of childcare responsibilities or travel difficulties.

 

Hygiene and cleanliness

General measures

To reduce the risk of infection spread, we have introduced the following measures:

  • Set out hygiene and cleanliness measures, based on our COVID-19 risk assessment and the suggestions in the Government’s guidance on returning to a range of different types of work in Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). Examples include:
    • installing additional handwashing facilities/hand sanitisers, including at entrances and exits;
    • cleaning work areas and equipment frequently;
    • having signage and posters to provide regular reminders to workers to maintain hygiene standards;
    • removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of shifts; and
    • introducing the collection and cleaning and changing of work clothing (such as uniforms) after every working day.

 

Playing your part

While we are taking these stringent additional measures, we would like to remind you to play your part by:

  • washing your hands often and thoroughly;
  • avoiding touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth; and
  • coughing or sneezing into a tissue, and binning it safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

 

Social distancing measures

General measures

While at work, you must maintain social distancing of two metres wherever possible. To assist with social distancing, we have introduced the following measures:

  • Based on our COVID-19 risk assessment and the suggestions in the Government’s guidance on returning to a range of different types of work in Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). Examples include:
    • spacing workstations out;
    • having floor markings to help workers to maintain social distancing;
    • installing screens or barriers to separate workers from each other;
    • working back to back or side to side (rather than face to face) where possible;
    • introducing one-way systems to reduce instances of workers having to pass each other in close proximity; and
    • having signage and posters advising on limits to numbers entering specific areas such as lifts, break areas, toilets.

You should continue to practice social distancing in common areas, including at workplace entrances and exits/in lifts/in break areas/in toilets.

 

Meetings

As part of our social-distancing measures, workers should conduct meetings remotely where possible. When physical meetings are necessary:

  • only essential participants should attend the meeting;
  • meetings should be kept as short as possible;
  • the social distancing of two metres should be maintained throughout;
  • objects such as stationery should not be shared; and
  • meetings should be held outdoors or in a well-ventilated room whenever possible.

Hand sanitisers are provided in meeting rooms and areas where meetings frequently take place. Floor markings are also provided to help workers to maintain social distancing.

 

Customers and visitors

To reduce the risk of infection spread, we have introduced the following measures:

  • Set out measures in relation to customers and visitors, based on our COVID-19 risk assessment and the suggestions in the Government’s guidance on returning to a range of different types of work in Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). Examples include:
    • restricting the number of customers allowed in at any one time, bearing in mind the space available and the need to maintain social distancing;
    • suspending or reducing customer services that cannot be undertaken without contravening social-distancing guidelines;
    • providing clear guidance to visitors to your premises, such as delivery workers;
    • allowing for non-contact deliveries, for example via pick-up and drop-off points; and
    • changing delivery patterns, for example, ordering supplies less often but in larger quantities.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Our approach to additional PPE

In line with our COVID-19 risk assessment, additional PPE identified is recommended and is provided for you.

You should continue to wear the PPE you normally require to carry out your work, including gloves, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear.

 

Face coverings

The use of a face covering (which is not considered PPE) is a matter of individual choice. If you choose to use a face covering, you must follow the Government’s advice at www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering.

 

This advice includes that you:

  • wash your hands thoroughly before putting a face covering on and after removing it;
  • change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you have touched it; and
  • change and wash your face covering daily.

The use of a face covering is not a replacement for observing our social distancing guidelines.