Sussex Law Covid-19 Workplace Policy and risk assessment
The physical and mental wellbeing of our people and our customers is our highest priority.
To manage this, and in line with government guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19, Sussex Law has carried out a full Covid-19 workplace risk assessment and implemented a Covid-19 Secure Workplace Policy.
Together, they show how seriously Sussex Law are considering all measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in our offices and to ensure that our workplace is as safe as possible for our employees and clients.
Sussex Law confirms we have followed the government’s guidance on managing the risks surrounding COVID-19.
We have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with all employees.
We have cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures in place according to the government advice.
We have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home where necessary and if possible.
We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m social distancing in the offices.
We have posters on our doors and within the offices giving clear instruction as to the policy we are operating.
Policy brief & purpose
This policy shows measures Sussex Law are actively taking to mitigate the spread of Covid 19 in our offices and to ensure that your return to the workplace is safe. You are kindly requested to follow all the rules diligently, to sustain a healthy and safe workplace in this unprecedented environment. It is important that we all respond responsibly and transparently to these risk precautions.
Sussex Laws’ approach is that if you can work safely then we will do so. The desk layout is such that you can practice social distancing in the workplace. Your desk should be sanitised at the end of your shift especially if another member of staff will be using the desk for the next days shift.
In order to keep the number of staff attending the office at one time to a minimum, there will be no half day handovers and the rostering of staff will be adjusted accordingly to keep the working environment as safe as possible.
If you need to attend the workplace then you may do so only on your allocated days as identified in the department roster.
This COVID-19 Secure Workplace policy is susceptible to changes with the introduction of additional governmental guidelines. If any changes are made, we will update you as and when necessary.
This policy applies to all employees who physically work in our office and those who are required to work remotely.
All employees must read through the risk assessment/action plan, to ensure we collectively and uniformly respond to the ongoing challenges.
Actions employees should take to protect themselves and their colleagues to ensure a safe and secure working environment.
Return to work Questionnaire:
• Prior to returning to the office the questionnaire must be completed and returned to the Practice Manager.
• We assure you that we will always treat your private health and personal data with high confidentiality and sensitivity.
• If you have any concerns and would like to discuss these please contact the Practice Manager or your direct line manager or whichever manager you feel most comfortable with.
Sick leave arrangements:
● If you have any Covid 19 symptoms, such as a cough/sneezing; fever; loss of sense of smell or taste, or otherwise feel unwell, you must bring this to the attention of the Practice Manager or your direct manager.
You will either be requested to return home and self isolate for 14 days and may be set up to work from home whilst in isolation. You will then return to the office only if you are fully asymptomatic.
● If you have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, you can return to the office only after you have self isolated for 14 days and are fully recovered, with a doctor’s note confirming your recovery.
Work from home:
● You may be requested to work from home if you are able to do so and should only attend the office to carry out tasks that you are unable to do from home.
● If you are experiencing any Covid 19 symptoms, but you are able to work, you should work from home if possible.
● If you’ve been in close contact with someone infected by COVID-19, with high chances of being infected yourself, you should work from home if possible. You will also be asked not to come into physical contact with any colleagues during this time.
● If you need to provide care to a family member infected by COVID-19, please discuss this with the Practice Manager.
● You’ll only be permitted to return to the office 14 calendar days after your family member has fully recovered, provided that you’ve recovered or you have a doctor’s note confirming you don’t have the virus. You will also be asked not to come into physical contact with any colleagues during this time.
● All work events will be cancelled/postponed until further notice.
● Face to Face client meetings should be done virtually where possible.
● If you normally commute to the office by public transportation and do not have other alternatives, we can look to change your working hours to avoid busy commuter times.
General hygiene rules:
● Wash your hands regularly and on all occasions after using the toilet, before and after eating, and if you cough/sneeze into your hands (follow the 20-second hand-washing rule). You can also use the sanitizers you will find around the office.
● Cough/sneeze into your sleeve, preferably into your elbow. If you use a tissue, discard it properly and clean/sanitize your hands immediately.
● Open the windows regularly to ensure open ventilation.
● Avoid touching your face, particularly eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands to prevent from getting infected.
● If you are in the office and find yourself coughing/sneezing on a regular basis or suffering any possible Covid-19 symptoms you should avoid close physical contact with your co-workers and report to a member of management who will send you home immediately and thereafter follow the instructions for self isolating- such as working from home or requesting sick leave.
● There is no smoking or vaping allowed anywhere within the offices. All smoking and vaping must be conducted outside with doors closed so that smoke or vape cannot infect any indoor space.
If you smoke or vape this must not take place in groups this practice must take place on a singular basis to avoid any possible spread of the virus from worker to worker. Exhaled vapour can contain droplets. Keep a distance of 2 metres from others when smoking or vaping outside to reduce this possible risk.
Staff exhibiting any Covid-19 symptoms and potential high-risk circumstances
Staff are not permitted to attend Sussex Law offices under the following conditions:
If they are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms
If they have been in close contact with someone infected by Covid-19
If they have tested positive for Covid-19
If they have had 3 adverse temperature readings
In the event of any of the above scenarios, then staff are only permitted to return to the office after 14 days isolation, provided they are asymptomatic or they have a doctor’s note confirming they don’t have the virus.
If anyone becomes unwell with a new continuous cough or a high temperature in the office they will be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance of self-isolation.
Social distancing in the workplace
Sussex Law Covid-19 Policy provides guidance on social distancing within the workplace and aims to keep staff numbers to a level where they can to comply with the 2-metre rule
Signage – Clear signage on front doors and throughout the offices to inform clients of our policy and to ensure employees maintain a safe and secure environment.
Meetings – Meetings should be done virtually whenever possible including internal meetings with colleagues and especially with clients. Only where the use of video conferencing for meetings is not practical, can face to face meetings be arranged.
All meeting rooms have been closed until further notice and may be used as office space.
Desks and workstations – Staff are not permitted to share desks or workstations on the same day and have been specifically allocated their own permanent workstations, ensuring 2m distancing from other colleagues. If a desk is used by another user the next day then it must be sanitised at the end of the shift allowing 16 hours before another user attends that workstation.
Supplies of individual items such as stationery orders need to be notified to the practice manager so that deliveries can be kept to a minimum.
Personal deliveries – Personal deliveries for staff members such as items from online shopping providers are not permitted at Sussex law offices without permission from the Directors.
Track and Trace – staff are encouraged to follow the track and trace guidelines set out by the government. If an employee tests positive they will be required to follow the self-isolation guidance.
Signage – Clear signage throughout our offices has been implemented to help guide people on general hygiene best practice and to act as a reminder of their responsibilities to maintain a safe and secure workplace.
Hand-washing – Staff are reminded to wash their hands regularly and on all occasions after using the toilet, entering the offices and before and after eating.
Gel sanitisers – Gel sanitisers are available in all areas.
Surface cleaning – Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, particularly in areas of high use such as door handles, light switches, IT hardware such as printers and reception areas – using appropriate cleaning products that have been provided to staff.
Reducing cross-contamination – All internal doors that are not fire doors should remain in an open position. Where possible, printing and handling of paperwork should be kept to a minimum and all correspondence where possible should be electronic such as emails.
Ventilation – staff are reminded to open windows regularly to ensure open ventilation. Where a fan is being used it should be directed away from any colleagues. If this is not possible then the fan should not be used.
Travelling and commuting
The firm’s approach is that if employees can work from home then they should continue to do so. This approach helps to reduce any unnecessary commuting and any unnecessary use of public transport. In addition:
Staff using car parking facilities should ensure that social distancing is adhered to when entering and leaving car park spaces
All staff work trips and events, have been postponed until further notice.
Meetings outside of the workplace
Vulnerable clients – With specific reference to vulnerable clients and where there is no alternative other than a home-visit, staff should practice strict social distancing measures. If you cannot be safe then you cannot meet.
Awareness needs to heightened as to where the meeting takes place. Any meeting needs to be outside or in isolation of all others that are not attending the meeting. I.e. busy rest home environment cannot be entered as this would not be a safe environment.
Mental Health and well-being
Sussex Law considers the mental health and well-being of all staff as a priority. All staff are required to complete a Return To Work Questionnaire to establish any concerns on their return and how they can be addressed. The firm will continue to promote the dedicated mental health & well-being resources available to all staff.