Coronavirus (COVID-19) Policy
1.1 The aim of this policy is to ensure a safe working environment for all employees and to stop the spread of the Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 within the workplace and the associated work activities. As an employer we shall, as far as reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of its employees. Similarly, our employees shall take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of their fellow employees.
1.2 Information pertaining to COVID-19 is being provided by various authorities on a regular basis and it is important to ensure that updates are obtained and disseminated through the organisation. We shall ensure that before forwarding information related to the virus it shall be checked to ensure that it is from credible sources. Spreading unverified information may contribute to unnecessary panic, stigma and discrimination, all of which do not add value at this stage.
1.3 This policy is susceptible to changes with the introduction of additional governmental guidelines and accordingly will be updated as and when required. In any case the policy will be subjected to a review at least annually.
2.1 This policy includes measures being taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Employees are requested to follow all these requirements to sustain a healthy and safe workplace. It is important that we all respond responsibly and transparently to these health precautions.
2.2 This policy shall be applicable to all areas where the company has employees present undertaking work activities.
3. RISK MANAGEMENT
3.1 A risk assessment shall be completed by a competent person on the subject of COVID-19. The purpose of the risk assessment will be to identify the control measures that are required within the workplace to ensure that the risk is reduced to a low a level as is reasonably practicable.
3.2 The risk assessments hall be communicated to the employees and also any third party persons that may be required to come into the premises.
3.3 The risk assessment shall be subjected to periodic reviews if there is reason to believe that it is now no longer valid.
4.1 How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is most likely to spread when there is close contact (2 metres or less) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases as the period of exposure to an infected person lengthens.
Contaminated droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes are the main means of transmission. There are two main routes by which people can spread COVID-19:
• Infection can be spread to people who are nearby as droplets are inhaled into the lungs.
• It is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person who has been contaminated and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
4.2 Primary symptoms of Covid-19
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:
• Dry cough
• Raised temperature
• Sore throat
• Shortness of breath/ difficulty in breathing
• Redness of eyes
• Body aches
• Loss of smell
• Loss of taste
Infections 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.
4.3 What to do if you develop symptoms
People who contract COVID-19 may take anywhere from one to twenty-one days to develop symptoms.
Even if you do not have a history of travel to a COVID-19 affected region or contact with an individual who has contracted the illness, you must still inform your healthcare provider if you present with symptoms of COVID-19. Employees should notify their Line Manager / Supervisor and stay at home if they are sick and have been booked off. All employees should follow the company’s sick leave policy in such situations. If the company has reason to suspect that an employee has been infected with COVID-19 or an employee becomes ill at work, the employer will request the employee to leave the workplace and seek medical treatment and/or testing immediately.
If an employee has been in close contact with an individual who has since been diagnosed with COVID-19, the employee must immediately inform the company. Close contact means that the employee was in face-to-face contact (i.e. within 2 metres) or in a closed space for more than 15 minutes with a person with COVID-19.
4.4 Social Distancing
The company shall ensure that adequate arrangements are in place throughout the entire premises with regards to social distancing. The social distancing for the United Kingdom is currently guided at 2 metres.
Where social distancing is implemented then signed shall be displayed advising of this both at entry to the work areas and also throughout the areas displayed on walls and floors.
In areas that are susceptible to an increased number of people then 2 metre markers shall be taped to the floor to assist with spacings.
Smaller areas is kitchens and toilets, will have maximum number of people restrictions put in place. This shall be identified on the entrance door to the relevant area.
Staggered rest breaks will be implemented to help reduce the number of people that are likely to use the rest areas at any one time.
4.5 Personal Hygiene
All employees will be encouraged to maintain good personal hygiene whilst at work. This will include regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds on each occasion. Hand washing breaks will be allowed at increased intervals throughout the working day. Increased provision shall be in place throughout the workplace and this will include hand sanitisers for each employee. New stock will be available for each employee as and when required and shall be available form the designated Manager or Supervisor. Regular checks of hygiene facilities shall take place to ensure that these are adequately stocked.
All flight travel required for work shall be suspended until further notice unless absolutely necessary as determined by the parties concerned. Local travel to clients will still be required but must be done in line with current protocols of low contact and high hygiene. In this instance, the company will also be guided by their clients in terms of needs and expectations. All non-essential travel, particularly on public transport, is discouraged.
Where possible employees should not be requested to carry out car sharing as this will not remain a 2metre distance. If absolutely needed and to avoid use of public transport, then car sharing should follow: the windows on the vehicle should be down to improved ventilation, the surfaces that are touched should be cleaned at the start and end of each journey and the employees should avoid looking at each other especially when talking. Face coverings are requested to be worn whilst in the vehicle as a further level of control.
• Consider whether a face-to-face meeting or event is needed - could it be replaced by a conference call or any other electronic platform.
• Could the meeting be scaled down so that fewer people attend?
• Ensure that all participants in the meeting have washed their hands for 20 seconds or utilised a hand sanitiser prior to the meeting commencing.
• Ensure that all delegates are seated at least two metres apart.
• The names and contact details of all participants in the meeting should be retained for at least one month. This may be done through the completion of a register and will assist healthcare authorities in tracing those who have been exposed to COVID-19 if a participant does become ill with the virus shortly after the meeting.
• If a participant should contract the virus shortly after the meeting, the company must inform all participants.
4.8 Hygiene in the workplace
• All visitors and employees entering the offices must be requested by the receptionist to wash their hands or utilise a hand sanitiser on entering the premises.
• Coughs and sneezes must be covered with a tissue; the tissue must be disposed of in the relevant waste bin.
• Frequently touched objects, including workstations and surfaces, must be cleaned and disinfected using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol must be used.
• Handshakes with any staff or clients must be AVOIDED; one’s face should not be touched either.
4.9 Wearing face masks
The use of face masks covering the mouth and nose will not be mandatory within the entire premises for all persons. There will be instances where the wearing of masks is required as follows:
• Persons involved in a task have to work within close contact of each other (2 metres).
• Within the warehouse and production areas.
Masks will be available from designated areas that will all be signposted up in each department or area and shall be issued by the relevant department Manager or Supervisor.
4.10 Seminars, Training and Conferences
No employee may attend external seminars, training or conferences, unless approved by the Managing Director and that it absolutely essential to the business.
4.11 Consequence of breach
If an employee is found to have deliberately been in breach of this policy then necessary disciplinary action will be taken. It is important to note that the company’s sick leave policy will not be adjusted or become flexible during the outbreak of COVID-19.
It is the employee’s responsibility to contact management should he/she have any queries related to this Policy.
Date: 17 February 2021