Safe Working Environment – Coronavirus (COVID19)

Last updated 15th June 2020

THIS SHOULD BE READ INCONJUNCTION WITH THE CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN AND PROCEDURE FOR MONITORING CORONAVIRUS (COVID19) INFECTION

Introduction

The Company recognises that the WHO has declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern and have now classified it as a pandemic. The organisation has a robust approach to ensuring safe working practices and managing the risk of infection in relation to this virus.

Safe Working Environment

These are the steps we have taken to promote a safe working environment:

Cleaning the Workplace Where There are Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

The local Health Protection Team as part of Public Health England will provide advice on cleaning. Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:

  • All surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • Potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones
  • Clothing and linen used by the person should be set aside pending assessment of the person by a healthcare professional

Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected.

General cleaning, handwashing, and hygiene procedures

We have increased the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:

  • Focusing on cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are frequently touched
  • Intensified cleaning for busy areas, including our office space
  • Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • Providing hand drying facilities – both paper towels and electrical dryers

Rubbish Disposal Including Tissues of potentially infected patients

  • Waste that has been in contact with patients / service users, including used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids, this should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. It should be put in a safe place and marked for storage until the COVID-19 test result is available, which will be within 24 hours.
  • If the individual tests negative, this can be put in the normal waste
  • Should the individual test positive, the local Health Protection Team advise you what to do with the waste and laundry

Help people to work from home, or work in separate locations

We are supporting a number of staff to work from home where it is possible by:

  • Discussing home working arrangements and providing work that can be completed from home
  • Ensuring staff have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
  • Including those working from home in all necessary communications
  • Separating team members to different sites to minimise our operational risk and promote safe working
  • Avoiding sharing workstations

Testing

If a member of staff shows symptoms or has been in close contact with someone who has symptoms, they should not come into work or arrange to leave work immediately the concern arises.  At this point they will be asked to go for a test.  In view of the high-risk environment in which we work, staff will be expected to comply with the request to have a test.  If any staff member refuses or refuses to share the results of their test with their line manager, they will not be allowed to work for 14 days and will only be eligible for statutory sick pay in this period.  Members of staff will be expected to follow any guidance they receive from the NHS Track & Trace Service.

Visitors & Security

  • We have stopped all visitors to our sites, but ensured a line of communication is always maintained with patients / service user’s families
  • We have increased security in some areas, with manned guarding and barrier to control site exit / entry

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the use of masks

  • The guidelines around wearing PPE and facemasks is set out by the manager at each individual service. The wearing of masks will normally be required when carrying out treatment and personal care.  The wearing of a facemask in other situations will be optional, which is in keeping with the Government advice when working in a Covid-secure environment. 
  • If any of the sites reports a positive Covid-19 test result for either staff or patient / service user, we will seek immediate advice from Public Health England (PHE) and respond accordingly. Under current guidelines the wearing of masks in the service will become mandatory.

Handwashing for Staff

Staff should wash their hands:

  • Before leaving home
  • On arrival at work
  • After using the toilet
  • After breaks and sporting activities
  • Before food preparation
  • Before eating any food, including snacks
  • Before leaving work
  • On arrival at home

When arriving on site

  • All staff MUST have their temperature checked on a daily basis and any pyrexia of 37.5 or above is to be escalated to Lesley Crosby, Director of Operations and Nursing. No staff member who is pyrexical must come into contact with patients or other members of staff.
  • All staff MUST wash their hands properly on arrival by using soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.

Raising Concerns

As an Organisation we believe we have effective procedures in place to allow staff to raise any concerns in relation to equipment, policies, and processes for managing COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. All staff can raise concerns or request further advice from Lesley Crosby.