Countrywide’s Risk Assessment

Coronavirus Risk Assessment 2020

As a general rule, Countrywide’s Risk Assessment is reviewed annually, or when there are changes to the working environment. This section has been reviewed in conjunction with the Government’s coronavirus guidelines for re-opening offices, in preparation for a Stage 2 return to the office, where up to 50 employees may be working in the office because it is not practical for them to do so at home. This risk assessment also takes into account circumstances where one or a few members of staff may temporarily attend the office, including any meetings on floor 2.

  • Company insurance - cover continues and remains adequate and up-to-date for stage 2
  • Coronavirus policy and procedures for working in the office devised and communicated to staff
  • Group websites and the intranet updated with stage 2 Risk Assessment
  • Group websites and the intranet updated with ‘Staying COVID-19 safe’ poster remains in place for stage 2
  • Ongoing consultation with employee representative (Lindsey Adams)
  • Clear signage continues to be displayed on or near the office doors and around the office for reminders of the safety guidelines
  • All staff are aware of the Group’s policy and rules regarding maintaining health and safety and staying safe whilst working in the office. Reminders and updates are periodically sent out – see staffing and staff behaviour below
  • Limited number of staff in the office at one time – up to 50 employees working on the first floor only. There may also be circumstances where a few employees may temporarily attend the office, including any meetings on the second floor
  • Regular and thorough cleaning completed by external cleaning company. Staff are advised to wipe down regularly touched surfaces/items – wipes are provided and are located around the office
  • Staff working at their own desks at least 2m away from others during stage 2. We've initially assessed where seating will need to be on each bank of desks when staff need to work in the office, taking into account 2m distancing and no face-to-face seating. If staff cannot sit at their usual desks, an alternative desk will be used within their team instead. Other options available is to work back-to-back, or side-to-side instead of face-to-face, where possible
  • Staff aware to only use their own equipment e.g. calculator, notepads, etc. and to keep their desk tidy during use, disposing of any rubbish and removing any personal items at the end of day.
  • Staff working in the same teams and not switching – reducing the number of people everyone has contact with
  • Kitchens are recommended to be closed, as for stage 1. However, 1 person to use at a time if it cannot be avoided. Staff encouraged to bring in their own food and drinks and use their own crockery, glassware and cutlery. Staff advised to wipe down surfaces and touch points with wipes provided and to wash hands before and after use. Hand sanitiser also available for use and best practice signage displayed as a reminder
  • Water coolers remain unavailable for use. However, if staff do use them, they must only use the disposable paper cups available. Reusable personal bottles, water cups or glasses are not to be used.
  • 1 person at a time allowed in the locker rooms, as for stage 1. Locker rooms to be kept clean and tidy at all times. Staff aware not to leave any rubbish or unhygienic items laying around. Staff advised to wipe down surfaces and touch points with wipes provided and to wash hands before and after use. Hand sanitiser also available for use and best practice signage displayed as a reminder
  • Staff room and leisure amenities (pool table, table tennis, dart board, PlayStation, TV, magazines, radio player, internet PC) open for staff to use if they wish (at their own risk), but staff must wash their hands before and after use and wipe equipment down after use. Wipes and hand sanitizer are available for use and best practice signage is displayed as a reminder
  • The foosball table is not available for use, as 2m social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Books or items on the bookshelf are unavailable to use to avoid touch points
  • No more than 1 person should be seated on each of the sofas and at the dining tables, ensuring 2m social distancing is maintained at all times
  • Internet PC’s open for staff use, but staff must wash hands before and after use and wipe surfaces and equipment down after use with wipes provided. Hand sanitizer also available for use and best practice signage is displayed as a reminder
  • No visitors allowed in the office, unless approved by an AD. Deliveries dropped at the door only, post and cheque collections/deliveries allowed, but should be done in the shortest amount of time possible. A record of visitors kept in the visitor’s book, where a visit is necessary
  • No business development visits to customers – if meetings are required, these are to be held via remote communications only
  • Ongoing monitoring of the amount of people in the office – managing occupancy levels up to 50 employees only
  • Air conditioning system adjusted in early July to ensure adequate ventilation. Also, air conditioning settings discussed for ongoing adjustment when staff numbers increase. Air conditioning company have also confirmed the use of air conditioning does not pose any high risk to staff with regards to COVID-19
  • Considered one-way system to enter and leave the office when occupancy levels increase towards 30%. This will be reviewed as more and more staff return to the office. If implemented, staff should enter by the main door and leave by the side door (on both floors) – reducing cross-over and congestion. In the meantime, 2m social distancing to be observed at all times
  • Plenty of hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes have been provided and are located around the offices
  • A general office tidy-up will be completed as more staff return - Desks will be cleared and all paperwork and personal items stored away to maintain good hygiene standards and germ prevention
  • Working collaboratively with the landlord and other tenants to maintain safety for all:
    • Social distancing measures in the building put in place prior to stage 1 are still relevant and should be followed at all times
    • Cleaning of communal areas
    • Legionella risks – water systems
    • Access to the building – main front doors were unlocked in June 2020 to allow for staff returning to the office to access the building easily
  • All staff aware of the Group’s policy and rules regarding maintaining health and safety and staying safe whilst working in the office, e.g.:
    • Staff to frequently wash their hands and maintain excellent hygiene – signs advising how to do this are also on display in kitchens and toilets. Hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities provided
    • Staff aware of correct procedures for coughing and sneezing to reduce the spread of infection
    • Staff to social distance and keep 2m away from each other at all times. Reminders are on display and all staff have access to the safety guidelines
    • Staff advised not to use lifts, wherever possible
    • Staff advised against touching handrails and surfaces in communal/shared areas and washing hands afterwards if it cannot be avoided
    • Optional for staff to wear their own sourced face coverings if they wish, especially if working face-to-face. However, hygiene must be maintained to ensure these remain clean and safe – washing hands before and after using, and changing the face mask if it becomes damp or if it’s been touched, etc.
  • Staff informed of quarantine procedure in line with Government guidance, if they develop symptoms of COVID-19
  • Home working enabled for staff, where possible. Staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable are to work from home for as long as possible
  • AD/Management presence will be kept under review as numbers increase during stage 2 – 1 manager present and working in the office from 1.7.20.
  • First Aid and Fire Marshall cover will be kept under review as numbers increase during stage 2 – 1 First Aider present and working in the office from 8.7.20
  • Staff parking arrangements amended for staff working in the office only – main staff car park to be re-opened for up to 50 staff returning to the office – discussion and agreement with landlord required
  • Staff reminded of bike shed, to reduce using public transport
  • A phased re-opening of the office has been planned using 3 stages. This started with a handful of staff up to 12 on the first floor in stage 1. Stage 2 will include up to 50 employees in the office. At this time, consideration into start/finish times, including lunch times will be done to avoid staff crossing paths and reducing congestion
  • Limited time spent in contact with others, e.g. in meetings. Social distancing must be observed at all times if meetings cannot be avoided
  • Regular communication with staff regarding the Group’s procedures and upcoming changes, etc.
  • Staff able to speak to managers about any problems or fears they may have about working during the pandemic. Feedback about working practices is also welcomed