COVID-19 Risk Assessment

COVID-19 Workplace safety risk assessment

Assessors: Leo Grainger & Donna-Marie Hassett Job titles: Head of Talent & People Manager Assessment date: (1st) 01/07/2020 Review date(s): 01/10/2020, Revised: 1/10/2020 Business type/location: Shared Office Space, WeWork, 41 Corsham Street, London

This COVID-19 risk assessment for Limited will focus on the following four areas.

  • Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus pandemic
  • Potential risks to workers caused by hazard
  • Control measures
  • Further actions required?

1) Infection prevention, Cleaning and Staff Safety

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus pandemic

The organisation must ensure their safety by making premises “COVID” secure – unsafe workplace premises raise the risks of virus transmission.

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

There is a direct threat to staff health and wellbeing from transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus while at work

People can catch the virus from others who are infected in the following ways:

· virus moves from person-to-person in droplets from the nose or mouth spread when a person with the virus coughs or exhales

· the virus can survive for up to 72 hours out of the body on surfaces which people have coughed on, etc · people can pick up the virus by breathing in the droplets or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their eyes or mouth

Control Measures

Ensure that the organisation complies with its duty to provide a safe and healthy workplace/working conditions for staff in the workplace during the coronavirus pandemic by:

  • Circulating “COVID secure” coronavirus policies and safety procedures to all staff and managers; these set out how staff should behave the precautions theymust adopt during the pandemic to keep them safe
  • Requiring staff to practice effective social distancing while in and around the workplace, while travelling to work and in all work business

Managers should pass on and reinforce key Government public health messages to all staff:

  • cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away
  • wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available)
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces do not touch face, eyes, nose or mouth if hands are not clean.

In all departments, fully implement Public Health England (PHE) Guidance for Employers and Businesses on Coronavirus, including the following key safety precautions:

  • Keep local/departmental risk assessments under review to ensure that a safe place of work is maintained
  • Consult with staff and fully involve the workforce at all stages of the pandemic
  • Make any adjustments to the workspace/rotas/work patterns/ procedures necessary to facilitate effective infection prevention and social distancing at work
  • Follow government health and travel advice
  • Provide hand sanitiser as required
  • Provide infection control personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks etc if required
  • Display appropriate public health posters and notices around the workplace and on websites
  • Staff are not required to wear face coverings while at work but may do so if they wish- non-reusable masks will be provided

2) Remote working, Hot Desking and Equipment Sharing

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus pandemic

  • Staff working together in workspace premises inevitably raises the risk of virus transmission. Hot desking and the sharing of equipment present hazards that raise the risk of virus transmission further.

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

  • Homeworking reduces the risk of staff gathering in the workplace and transmitting the virus
  • Homeworking can have a detrimental impact on mental health for those living alone or in small, compacted homes.

Control Measures

  • Homeworking has been adopted, within the organisation as the preferred method of work wherever possible and only staff who need to be on site should attend the office premises.
  • However, the office is to remain open with strict measures in place as noted above to help with the mental health of all Streetbees employees and give options.

The following working arrangements will be put into place to support remote working:

  • Managers will plan for a minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively – this will be done using a rota allocating certain departments to certain days to help people traffic in to the office and adhere to social distancing rules.
  • Managers should monitor the wellbeing of people who are working from home and put in place measures to support their mental and physical health and personal security
  • Enhanced IT support should be provided to homeworkers to ensure the effectiveness of working arrangements and the security of information and data,for example, remote access to work systems
  • Equipment should not be shared between staff – limit use of high-touch equipment in the workplace, e.g whiteboards, pens, etc – use own markers, pens no sharing equipment

3) Workplace Social Distancing

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus

Effective social distancing is a key element in reducing the transmission of COVID-19

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

Social distancing refers to people being required to maintain a distance from each other of 1 meter + apart (as per latest government guidelines) wherever possible. Social distancing effectively puts people at a safe range from anyone coughing. The main route of virus transmission is through droplets exhaled or coughed by an infected person.

Control Measures

Staff are required to practice effective social distancing while in and around the workplace, while involved in work activities and when travelling to and from work, whenever possible, by:

  • Avoiding non-essential contact with others
  • Keeping a safe distance of at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) from others whenever possible
  • Avoiding physical contact (eg hugs, handshakes, etc)

Adaptations to the premises to support social distancing should include:

  • A review of all work premises to identify suitable adaptations which will support social distancing
  • Offices and workspaces to be set up to support social distancing, e.g. layout changes, appropriate signage, stickers and floor markings to denote safe distances, etc
  • Workstations and desks to be arranged with a minimum separation between them
  • Establishing maximum occupancy limits for offices and work areas (Streetbees maximum capacity is 15 people in the office at any one time)

Adaptations for social distancing purposes:

  • Reducing the need for staff to move around within the workplace
  • Cancelling non-essential meetings
  • Holding essential meetings in well ventilated rooms with appropriate social distancing in place – limit numbers to essential members only and use phone/video conferencing, etc
  • Replacing face-to-face meetings wherever possible with video conferencing, phone conferencing, etc
  • Holding meetings outdoors
  • Providing hand sanitiser at meetings
  • Cancelling non-essential training and all face-to-face training/recruitment practices
  • Carrying out any essential training/ recruitment by using email/online e-learning wherever possible rather than bringing people together face to face

The People Team should display notices in all premises reminding staff of the key infection prevention requirements, including the need to maintain safe distancing.

Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, managers must carry out further risk assessments and consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate - where such activities need to continue appropriate mitigation methods should be put into place, such as:

  • Increased hand washing
  • Increased environmental cleaning
  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using “fixed teams or partnering” (so each person works with only a few others)

4) High Risk Areas of the Workplace

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus

Some areas of the workplace may present a higher risk than others – this may include areas such as staff toilets and the communal Kitchen area

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

Heavily used areas of the workplace are more likely to present an infection transmission risk

  • Essential for staff to wash hands regularly but also that toilets are kept clean and free of coronavirus contamination
  • A number of staff going to the toilet together may compromise their ability to comply with social distancing
  • Increased risk of people coughing and touching door handles, taps and toilet flush handles

Control Measures

Ensure higher-risk high-traffic areas of the workplace are COVID-secure by applying appropriate safety precautions, including:

  • Stressing the need for staff to follow good hygiene practice at all times while at work (ie regular handwashing, using tissues and disposing of them appropriately, etc)
  • Office Space(WeWork) ensuring that adequate hand cleaning resources are provided; all staff toilets to be supplied with adequate supplies of hot water, liquid soap and paper towels
  • Printing handwashing instructions/posters and displaying throughout workplace, especially in toilets
  • Limiting numbers of staff who can use high traffic areas such as corridors, stairs, toilets and restrooms at any one time to ensure social distancing (WeWork)
  • Prioritise disabled use where necessary, eg disabled toilet use, use of lifts, etc.
  • Establishing safe queuing systems by use of room occupancy limits and floor markings/signage, etc.
  • Placing 60% alcohol hand gels at convenient places around the workplace with instructions for use
  • Increasing environmental cleaning, especially in and around toilets and restrooms and staff rooms; special attention to be paid to frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, toilet flush handles, light switches, etc (WeWork)
  • Increasing toilets/washrooms inspections to check for cleanliness/adequate stock of soap/toilet paper, etc.

5)Premises Access and Travel

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus

Staff who are required to attend for work must be given safe access to the workplace

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

  • Travel to and from work may lead to greater risk of virus transmission
  • Public transport may be restricted in order to achieve social distancing on trains, buses, etc
  • Access to buildings may create a virus transmission risk if staff all seek entrance at once or are channelled through single points of entry
  • Risks may be increased for disabled staff who may have reduced options for access

Control Measures

The following safety arrangements should apply to workplace access and travel arrangements:

  • Ensure that sufficient access points to the workplace are provided so that staff do not congregate at entrances and exits – ensure that all access points have supplies of sanitizer available
  • Review disabled access policies and arrangements to ensure safe entrance or exit for disabled staff
  • Use floor markings and signage at entrances and exits and introduce one-way flow systems at entry and exit points where appropriate (WeWork)
  • Enable flexible/staggered working arrangements so that staff can avoid travelling at peak times or all arriving or leaving at the same time
  • Provide hand sanitiser at entrances and exits
  • Ask staff not to share cars
  • Support staff to walk or cycle to work wherever possible, eg providing safe bike storage, showers,lockers, etc
  • Ask staff not to use public transport if at all possible – where they do use public transport they should conform with all requirements, eg wearing face
  • coverings if required,social distancing, etc
  • In all cases non-essential travel for work purposes should be minimised

6) Cases of Possible Infection On-Site

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus

People becoming unwell while in the office or a symptomatic person using the office

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

High risk of transmission

Control Measures

If a member of staff becomes unwell in the workplace with coronavirus symptoms new, continuous cough or a high temperature) they should be sent home and advised to follow government advice to self-isolate.

The following actions should be taken within the workplace:

  • All surfaces that a symptomatic person has come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected, especially objects visibly contaminated with body fluids and all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets
  • 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
  • Cleaning staff should use disposable cloths or paper roll and a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1000 parts per million available chlorine
  • Cleaning staff must wear appropriate PPE
  • Waste from cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including disposable cloths and tissues) should be “double-bagged” and tied off; it should be placed in a secure holding area for 72 hours before being disposed of in general waste

7) Information

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus

Hazards caused by lack of information or inaccurate information being circulated

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

The pandemic has been accompanied by a large amount of official guidance, some of which needs interpretation, and also by misinformation, rumour and “fake news” or “myths”. If these are allowed to gain traction within the organisation they can obscure and confuse vital health and safety measures.

Control Measures

After lockdown the following safety arrangements should be applied to mitigate risks caused by misinformation and “fake” news:

  • To ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff business strategies must be based on accurate information and staff must be given consistent, simple and clear messages
  • Coronavirus risk management team to monitor official advice carefully and update all policies and procedures
  • Ensure leadership teams/local managers are briefed and kept up to date
  • Managers to beware fake news and discourage the circulation of misinformation
  • Keep staff informed –key messages include the need for unwell staff or homeworking staff to stay at home, for frequent handwashing and for social distancing

8) Communication

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus

Threat to effective communications

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

The pandemic crisis threatens communication with clients/customers – such communications are vital in he establishment of business activities and procedures after lockdown

Control measures

After lockdown the following safety arrangements should be applied to mitigate risks to communication systems:

  • Senior management to review all outward facing communications (eg on customer website, etc) to ensure messages are consistent, clear and reflect the customer focused and socially aware values of the organisation
  • Managers to revise communications strategies and plans
  • Devise specific plans for how and how often to communicate with clients/customers/ suppliers

9) Cyber-Security Risk

Business Hazards associated with the coronavirus

Cyber-Security risks

Potential risks to workers caused by hazard

  • Cyber-security threats often accompany a crisis, including computer viruses, phishing and scam emails and coronavirus related “ransomware”
  • With the organisation and individual staff more reliant than ever on digital communications and the internet, and with more staff working from home and using a variety of digital devices, the need to ensure the security and function of our digital systems is more important than ever

Control Measure

The following safety arrangements should be applied to mitigate cyber risks:

Review cyber security and surveillance infrastructure and ensure that all reasonable protection is in place

  • Circulate warnings to staff and managers of any credible cyber threats, especially scam emails and text messages
  • Ensure that staff working from home and using remote-working systems are covered by cyber-risk protections