Coronavirus Health and Safety Risk Assessment - for employees who cannot work effectively from home

Outside the from of Fairfax House, the Trust's main offices

Relevant Legislation and Guidance

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs 1999

  • Working Safely during COVID-19 (Government guidance)

The Risk

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS. The official name for this disease, is Covid-19. It was first identified in Wuhan City, in Hubei province, China and has spread throughout the world.

Common signs of infection include:

  • respiratory symptoms

  • fever or high temperature above 38 degrees

  • sudden cough

  • shortness of breath and breathing difficulties

  • muscular aches

  • loss of sense of taste and smell

Generally, more severe cases occur in people with weakened immune systems, older people, those from Black, Asian Minority Ethnic backgrounds and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung diseaseHowever, young people and those with no previously reported medical conditions have also died from the virus.

All employees are required to complete a medical/first aid questionnaire at the start of their employment. Employees have been requested to update these to ensure that those with underlying or long term health conditions, placing them at a higher risk are assessed accordingly. Those in public facing roles have been prioritised.

All employees have been instructed to review the Government guidance and assess their own vulnerability against the criteria set. Categories for vulnerability are as follows:

  • Extremely Clinically Vulnerable

  • Clinically Vulnerable

  • Not at an elevated risk.  

Control measures implemented by the Trust have taken employees vulnerability into account.

Coronavirus is usually transmitted through contact with an infected person but the virus can also be passed on by touching infected surfaces/objects such as door handles and light switches.

Whilst many people infected by the virus may suffer minor symptoms, or possibly be unaware that they have had it, the virus has also claimed many lives throughout the UK and across the world.

The overall risk to those undertaking work on behalf of the Trust is low following the implementation of the control measures documented.

Who could be affected by the virus and how?

The Coronavirus is indiscriminate and can infect anyone exposed to it, however the severity of its effects are usually dependant on the pre-existing conditions discussed.

This assessment identifies all users of Fairfax House, such as employees, visitors, contractors and cleaners, to be at risk.

Risk Rating and Control Measures

The Trust acknowledges that it is not able to influence the severity of effects from Coronavirus on individuals, however, there are measures that the organisation can implement to reduce the likelihood of exposure in all its workplace environments. These measures have been implemented taking into account Government guidance and advice using methods such as social distancing and assessing individual vulnerability.

Review of assessment

The measures implemented will continue to be reviewed in accordance with business needs and as our knowledge and understanding of the virus develops. This will ensure that the most effective measures are in place to reduce the level of risk to a level as low as reasonably practical.

This document is intended to record the assessment of the risk to employees returning to the Fairfax House office environment.

Communication and decision making

The Senior Management Group including the Trusts Health, Safety and Compliance Manager meet regularly to review the Trusts Coronavirus management arrangements to ensure that best practice and Government guidance is being followed.

Decisions made are cascaded to Line Managers and recommendations provided to the Executive Management  (EMT) Team for further action.

Regular Employee Consultative Committee (ECC) meetings are held and are attended by the Head of People Engagement. Coronavirus risk information and control measures, including this Return To Work risk assessment are presented at this forum for consultation, before employees are asked to return to Fairfax House, this risk assessment will be presented for consideration and comment. When agreed this will be published on the Trusts website alongside out initial Coronavirus risk assessment..

Meetings minutes and decision logs are recorded and stored in the Trusts Coronavirus folder located as follows; R Drive – Corporate Services – Business Continuity – Coronavirus Planning.

Dealing with Emergencies at Fairfax House

The Trust has maintained sufficient First Aid cover for employees who have continued to attend Fairfax to carry out essential work. First Aiders have been provided with St John Ambulance guidance on Coronavirus; (COVID 19 advice for 1st aiders)

As employees return to Fairfax, the number of First Aiders will increase to maintain a sufficient ration of people with appropriate First Aide training.

The number and  of Fire Wardens at Fairfax has reduced and therefore and additional control measure of employees attending the building being required to sign in has been implemented, this will assist Wardens to account for all employees in the event of an evacuation. This procedure will continue until sufficient numbers of Fire Wardens return to Fairfax to allow sufficient coverage for all floors/areas.

Compliance with Government Guidance.

The Trust has taken into account guidance issued by the Government relating to safe working during the Coronavirus pandemic and in particular has used the publication ‘Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres’ as its main guidance document in relation to Fairfax House.

This document sets out 'five steps to safer working together' and our control measures have taken these steps into account. This statement will be completed and made available to all Trust employees and stakeholders.

Control measures currently in place to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting Coronavirus at Fairfax House.

Risk before control measures
Probability Medium
Impact High
Overall Medium

 

Control measures in place

  • Employees who can effectively work from home are actively encouraged to do so.

  • Employees returning to Fairfax House will be assessed by their line manager to ensure that they are not placed at any additional risk.

  • Employees who are identified as Clinically Vulnerable are individually assessed and additional control measures implemented as necessary.

  • Employees or visitors who are displaying coronavirus symptoms must not attend Fairfax House and must self isolate following Government guidance.

  • Contractors who are required to visit the building are required to provide assurance (via risk assessment and safe system of work) that they can conduct their activities safely and in accordance with Government guidance.

  • Contract cleaners attend daily and sanitize all regularly touched hard surfaces.

  • Anyone entering Fairfax House is required to sanitize their hands as they enter the building.

  • Monthly anti-bacterial Bio-misting is carried out throughout the Fairfax House to ensure that COVID 19 cannot live on work surfaces.

  • All employees will be given access to the Return To Work hand book to providing further advice and guidance.

  • Fairfax House will be operating in a reduced capacity to ensure that employee numbers are low enough to ensure that social distancing can be maintained.

  • Employees are asked to sign in on arrival to ensure fire safety arrangements are suitable.

Hand sanitising station with sign on it instructing employees to 'Stop and sanitise hands'

  • Employees are reminded of the need to regularly wash their hands with signage in place in WCs

Sign on an employee bathroom wall advising of hand cleaning techniques

  • Employees are instructed to maintain social distancing in accordance with Government guidelines.

  • Clear signage is present throughout Fairfax House to remind employees to maintain a safe distance.

Signage on an office wall reminding employees to keep 2 metres apart

  • Floor tape has been installed throughout the building to indicate 2 meter spaces.

Yellow tape on an office corridor floor spaced 2 metres apart

  • Distancing will be maintained in WCs and notices are posted to remind employees of this..

  • Existing hand washing facilities have been supplemented with hand sanitizer placed near to equipment that may need to be operated.

Bottle of hand sanitiser placed on a table in a meeting room next to some IT equipment

  • Antibacterial wipes are provided for employees to clean hard surfaces after use.

Pack of antibacterial wipes placed on the staff kitchen work surface

  • Passenger lifts have been limited to one passenger at a time.

Sign on an office wall advising that there is a limit of one person per lift

  • Meetings (internal and external) are kept to a minimum number physically attending with social distancing being maintained – Chairs have been removed from meeting rooms to ensure that a space of 2m can be maintained.

Meeting room with chairs placed around a table 2 metres apart

  • Virtual meetings by (for example) Webex to be conducted whenever possible. Interaction with others should be kept as short as possible

  • Desk layouts are configured to allow a 2m distance between employees with alternate desks being occupied to avoid face to face working. Hot desking is not permitted except at some specified desks that are cleaned after each use.

Employees working at their desks in the office maintaining social distancing

  • Chairs placed closer than 2m apart are placed out of use.

Office chairs with yellow tape on them placing them 'out of use'

  • Sufficient stocks of PPE including hand sanitizer are available for use and further supplies are sourced as needed.

Cupboard with brown boxes and bottles of hand sanitiser in it

Residual risk rating
Probability Low
Impact High
Overall Low

 

Assessment author

Graham Harrison, IOSH, NEBOSH, ABOHS,

Position: Health, Safety and Compliance Manager (Consultant)

Example of a risk matrix

Low impact + low probability = low risk

Low impact + medium probability = low risk

Low imact + high probability = low risk

Medium impact + low probability = low risk

Medium impact + medium probability = medium risk

Medium impact + high probability = medium risk

High impact + low probability = low risk

High impact + medium probability = medium risk

High imact + high probability = high risk

Example of a risk matrix