Every company has seen its priorities shift dramatically in recent days and weeks, as the spread of COVID-19 enters uncharted territory. The health and welfare of our employees, supply chain partners and visitors are our overriding priority when setting out our strategies to mitigate the impact and risks to them and our business operations.
To help us prepare and maintain flexibility as a business, we have set up an internal (COVID-19) steering group, which is a subset of our Board of Directors, Project Directors and key Departmental Managers, to proactively consider the rapidly evolving position. This steering group will take advice from the Government and Public Health England when planning for the mitigation of the potential impacts on our business operations and the services that we provide.
The steering group has already conducted a full impact assessment across our business to help identify the potential risks, and to help us prepare a resilience plan moving forward. The steering group will meet weekly and will continue to provide updates to our Business continuity plan.
The following is the current list of actions that are been taking to mitigate and manage the challenges that we are been presented with.
- We are discouraging all unnecessary visits to our sites and office.
- Video conferencing is strongly encouraged in favour of face to face meetings.
- We have commenced a register of vulnerable staff, along with relatives or dependants who themselves have vulnerability and each one of these will be separately risk assessed.
- Do not shake hands
- Regular and thorough washing of hands is encouraged
- Wherever possible please maintain a reasonable distance (2m) from your colleagues or visitors.
- Offsite meetings may be acceptable where numbers are kept to a minimum and the risk of contamination is appropriately controlled.
Changes to our working conditions
In order to maintain business continuity in the event of an outbreak the following measures are to be implemented.
- Visits between head office and sites to be severely restricted and even then, must be appropriately planned and approved by the board.
- Visits between sites will be subject to the same control.
- Where the first two points would be broken by relationships outside of work, we would ask that you contact your line manager in order that the risk can be properly managed.
- Returning to work from holiday – Staff returning to work from holidays will be treated with additional care, the dangers that they theoretically present will be carefully managed to ensure that the risks are controlled so far is practical.
- Temperature – On visiting any of our business units the temperature of each member of staff will be measured daily. For clarity each attendee will have their temperature taken on each day of attendance. Any member of staff with a temperature beyond the recommendations will be refused entry.
As you would expect we will take a very supporting position in the unfortunate event that you contract the virus. Both the government and our advice is that you should self-isolate following acceptance that the appropriate symptoms have been experienced. We would expect communication to take place at the earliest opportunity when concerns exist.
Relocation of Staff
Each Department is currently being uniquely considered based on the dependency that the company has regarding continuation of their duties. It is likely that where the risk to the business of the loss of that department is unreasonably high, that measures to protect sections will be activated (certain staff may be moved to alternative locations to avoid contact with other department members). The outcome of this review will be made available during this week.
We will be asking each site to carry out a risk assessment for their location and circumstances. Following this we will require a bespoke plan detailing how that operation will be protected against an outbreak. The main onus will be measures to protect business continuity. The following will need to be considered.
- Segregation of staff
- Segregation of different sub-contractors
- Controlled access to visitors
- Cleaning regime
- Communications including signage
- Information gathering to identify high risk individuals (return from holiday etc)
- Clean desks – Desks should be left clear of all paper and clutter thus allowing an efficient method of cleaning to be utilised
- Hand sanitisers – will be made available for all operational areas of our business
- Wash hand basins – Additional hand washing stations will be provided on all of our sites.
- Visitors - On visiting any of our business units the temperature of each visitor will be measured. Any visitor with a temperature beyond the recommendations will be requested to isolated themselves and contact NHS 111