COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Maidstone Borough Council Corporate  COVID-19 Risk Assessment

The hazard in this risk assessment is COVID-19.  The measures already in place and the further actions required are to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

Who might be harmed

Council staff, Councillors, Tenants, Co-tenants, Contractors, Cleaners, Visitors, Customers.  The risk assessment aims to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection for all these groups of people.

Work location

Where possible, our staff are working at home.  We have planned a phased approach for bringing staff back into the office as required, based on the operational need for them to be in the office and their personal circumstances.  Safe working practices have been put in place in line with government guidance and further measures are planned.

Monitoring

We will continue to monitor our risk assessment and the implementation of the planned actions and their effectiveness.  We will change our plans and the way we do things if required e.g. to respond to Government guidance or if we identify a better way of doing things.

Lead officer

The Head of Commissioning and Business Improvement is the lead senior officer for this risk assessment.

Risk - increased home working

Current measures in place

  • All staff and members have been told to work from home if they can and have access to IT equipment and systems to allow them to do so
  • Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and home working assessments carried out for those home working.
  • Regular staff well-being surveys

Further actions required

All staff who continue to home work will need to collect suitable equipment  from the office e.g. keyboards, screens etc.

Responsibility

Managers.

Timescale

July 2020 and ongoing.

Risk - mental health issues

Current measures in place

  • Managers have put in place regular communications with team members.
  • Pulse surveys carried out to test the wellbeing of staff and issues raised by staff being addressed.
  • Relevant training and well-being Skype sessions set up several times per week to support staff.

Further actions requires

  • Specific training programme for managers on managing remote teams
  • Review mental and physical health issues of staff members regularly to identify if anyone would benefit from returning to the offices sooner than laid out in the phased return to offices

Responsibility

HR and Managers.

Timescales

July 2020. Inline with plans for phased return to offices.

Risk - protecting staff at higher risk or needing to self-isolate

Current measures in place

  • All clinically vulnerable or self- isolating staff are working from home if they can. Where their work cannot be done from home, they are still being paid.
  • MBC has access to testing facilities for staff and their households where symptoms are suspected
  • If anyone in the clinically vulnerable (medium risk) group cannot work from home, a risk assessment will be carried out to see if they could return to work with reasonable adaptations, which may include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Further actions required

  • Review well-being policy
  • Follow Government guidance on return to work for staff in extremely vulnerable categories.  Reasonable adjustments, which may include PPE, will be put in place if required

Responsibility

HR and  Health and Safety.

Timescale

As Government guidance changes.

Risk - working remotely and visiting sites and homes

Current measures in place

  • A Safe Operating Policy and Practice for site and premises visits has been adopted
  • Photographs or videos are being used instead of visits where possible
  • Where required, PPE has been supplied to staff who have continued to visit people or provide a face to face service

Further actions required

  • Adjust team risk assessments and working practices to take account of safe operating guidance for site and premises visits
  • Supply hand sanitiser, gloves and any other PPE required to officers undertaking visits

Responsibility

Managers and Health and Safety.

Timescale

July 2020 before visits start again.

Risk - meetings

Current measures in place

Meetings are being held virtually wherever possible e.g. through Skype

Further actions required

If meetings have to be face to face, they should be held outside or in well-ventilated rooms where possible.  If in council offices, protocols for the use of meeting rooms must be followed

Responsibility

Managers.

Timescale

Ongoing.

Risk - customers and visitors

Current measures in place

  • Face to face services through The Link have been stopped
  • Services are offered online or over the phone

Further actions required

  • Work with Job Centre Plus (JCP) to ensure safe operating practices for staff and customers at The Link when it reopens to receive customers.
  • Temporary measures will be put in place for licensing and homelessness that need to resume a face to face customer service before The Link reopens
  • Visitors should not be invited to offices for meetings. If contractors or others do have to attend, the operating procedures of that office must be explained first

Responsibility

Health and safety and Customer Services, Housing and Licensing and Property Services and Managers.

Timescale

Health and safety and Customer Services in Autumn 2020. Housing and Licensing in July 2020. Property Services and Managers is ongoing.

Risk - COVID-19 symptoms in the workplace

Current measures in place

  • Risk is limited due to staff home working wherever possible, social distancing and other safe working practices in place in MBC workplaces and a phased return to offices
  • Corporate Health and Safety Advisor identified as single point of contact for Public Health England in case of a COVID-19 outbreak at a workplace

Further actions required

Formulate guidance for staff, to include:

  • Individual to go home immediately and follow government guidance on testing and self-isolation
  • Contact Corporate Health and Safety Advisor and Facilities Management
  • Workstation and other relevant areas to be cleansed with household disinfectant, by specialist company if required

Responsibility

Health and safety.

Timescale

June 2020.

Risk - Accidents, security and other incidents

Current measures in place

  • Fire evacuation procedures in place
  • Trained first aiders in place

Further actions required

  • Advise staff so they understand in the case of fire etc social distancing is not expected, but to be as careful as possible
  • Review current fire evacuation procedures
  • Review first aiders on each floor to ensure and actions required for adequate first aid cover with reduced numbers of staff

Responsibility

Health and safety.

Timescale

July 2020 before other officers return to offices.

Risk - PPE and face coverings

Current measures in place

  • PPE identified and supplied to staff where required
  • Staff can use own face covering at work if they wish

Further actions required

  • Give guidance to staff on how to safely use face coverings
  • Continue to update risk assessments in response to changing government guidance and supply any PPE required

Responsibility

Health and safety.

Timescale

July 2020 and ongoing.

Risk - communications and training

Current measures in place

  • Regular staff updates from Comms team
  • Chief exec webinars to give important information and take questions from staff; recorded and available on the Intranet for those unable to attend
  • Signs reminding people to wash their hands in place in all offices

Further actions required

  • Guidance document on safe working practices for staff and members, including operating protocols for each office, to be given to staff before they return to offices
  • Posters and floor markings showing clear instructions for the use of office facilities will be put up in each office

Responsibility

Comms, HR and Health and Safety

Timescale

July 2020 – before other officers return to offices