This COVID-19 contingency plan outlines the main purpose and guidance to PHSC plc subsidiary directors of mitigation actions to minimise the risk to staff, customers and business productivity following the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
It follows the latest guidance from the Government on Social Distancing and seeks to maintain a balance between maintaining the health, safety and welfare of our stakeholders and business continuity, as follows:
The Prime Minister (18.03.20) set out a number of social distancing measures to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of coronavirus. For those who remain well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition, they are advised to limit their social contact where possible, including using less public transport, working at home and considering not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.
This government guidance has been updated several times, and workplaces are now able to start resuming their trade, provided sufficient social distancing and other safety measures are in place. The intention was never to close business although some organisations had no other option. And now there is an equally big challenge in getting staff back to work. Indeed, some business have found that there is no need for staff to return to the workplace, but others do need to return. This will mean taking sensible measures that maintains business continuity whilst protecting health of our staff, customers and other stakeholders. We will continue to monitor our COVID-19 Contingentcy Plan, using a risk-based approach in response to updated information from Public Health England, and continuing to provide
Professional Help at Sensible Cost
This plan will be revised and updated as and when there is significant new guidance from Public Health England / Health Protection Scotland.
- To minimise the risk of PHSC plc personnel contracting COVID-19
- To minimise risk of infecting PHSC plc clients
- To minimise the impact upon PHSC plc subsidiaries from the potential effects of business disruption due to staff sickness/ isolation or other inability to service clients
- To maintain its duty of care to employees, contractors, customers and others who may be affected by our operations.
- To reassure customers and other key stakeholders of PHSC’s proactive and reactive strategy for managing risks presented by Covid-19. Ad-hoc discussions en-route whilst auditing with individuals.
Subsidiary directors are to identify any staff or associates working for the subsidiary who may be more vulnerable due to underlying health issues that could be exacerbated if COVID-19 was contracted. Such information will be processed in line with our Data Protection protocols.
Any staff who come within the category of vulnerable to be assessed for suitability for travelling on public transport / working with clients where there are high numbers of staff etc so as to minimise contact with persons or environment who may be infected. If no such assignments are available, then consideration should be given to providing alternative desk-based work, either at the office or at home.
Work schedules to be closely monitored and close liaison with clients to occur daily. Where a client wishes to postpone or is closed down by PHE or Health Protection Scotland our cancellation terms and conditions should be considered. Directors have discretion over the circumstances of each case. It may be that other non-site work might be completed instead.
Work that can be completed remotely should be agreed, eg via telephone, webinars and arranging for photographs/documents to be sent to our consultants where feasible.
In the short term, agreement with clients should be made in advance to minimise time spent on site, and reasonable distance between individuals, particularly where training is being delivered. We will also identify their own COVID-19 Contingency Plan, and work within its parameters.
Directors are to brief/remind consultants (bearing in mind the Chartered Safety Practitioner status of our management systems and health and safety consultants) on leading by example at all times, including when at client sites or when in transit.
Briefings / guidance must be given to staff on:
- Hand hygiene protocols
- To obtain (if possible) hand sanitizer and carry with them
- Wearing of face masks / coverings whilst commuting, in lifts and other enclosed spaces
- To cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose immediately, or to cough/sneeze into their elbow if a tissue is not immediately available.
- Always to keep 2 metres distance wherever possible from their clients, or a minimum of 1 metre if the area is crowded.
- To avoid touching face, nose and mouth. If someone coughs/ sneezes immediately in the proximity of a staff member to ask to be excused to wash hands and sanitise.
- Not to shake hands with clients and to explain politely the reason why, in the current circumstances.
- To update directors if they feel they are experiencing symptoms associated with a cold, flu or virus (high temperature, headache, aching muscles, respiratory problems).
When visiting clients, do not come into close contact with them. Do not shake hands and explain the reasons why. Maintain a polite and safe distance from clients wherever possible
Maintain a safe distance from people you are in contact with (ideally 2 metres).
Seek to arrange transit to client sites in the short-term via your own vehicle rather than public transport, to avoid close contact with large numbers of the public.
Encourage staff when not at work to avoid large crowds. Encourage spare time activities to include such pleasures as walks in the country-side or by the sea. Being in nature is not only healthy mentally and physically, but the COVID-19 virus dies naturally in the countryside so risk of infection is very low.
Avoid wherever possible using door handles / rails in public places. If possible, cover your hands with a tissue or a sleeve when opening /closing doors or holding handrails on stairs. If this cannot be avoided, wash your hands at the earliest convenience afterwards, or use sanitiser.
Reassure clients of our measures in all correspondence.
For staff who have report writing days, encourage them to do so at home unless they need to be in the office, and consider the appropriateness of administration staff to work from home if this is viable.
Undertake a daily check of your team to ensure they continue to follow these guidelines, and to check on their physical and emotional health. This can be a worrying time for some employees, especially if they or their family come within the vulnerable group of people.
Check work schedules to identify at the earliest stage to monitor those clients who may be more likely to close down (eg healthcare centres, schools, leisure centres).
Monitor the effectiveness of the controls in this strategy and review these against your own local COVID-19 Contingency Plan.
If a staff member reports symptoms, ask them to self-isolate and contact NHS on 111 for further advice. This website also provides useful information: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
If they are still feeling well, seek to provide them with work that can be completed from home (even if this is updating training programmes, writing a blog or other ancillary task that was not planned but could provide benefit to the company. Isolation must occur for at least two 2 weeks, although this may change in accordance with PHE guidance. If testing occurs and the result is negative for COVID-19 then self-isolation can be reduced to a few days until the person’s symptoms reduce sufficiently/disappear. Guidance from a health professional will be sought on the suitability of someone to return to work.
Liaise with other subsidiary directors to provide a suitable replacement member of staff so as not to inconvenience the client. There is sufficient additional resource within the group to support a short-term and medium level of disruption due to staff sickness.
If no suitable replacement is available then liaison with the client will be necessary to postpone. In such circumstances directors should consider maintaining business relationships and the inconvenience this may cause and if/what other compensating work can be provided if this is necessary. Usually the client will be happy to reschedule and work plans must cater for the need of flexibility under the current circumstance.
Those members of staff who interact with training delegates may have to adhere to additional controls, given that they meet and work with personnel outside the business. We will sleek to identify our clients’ own COVID-19 Contingency Plan and follow its requirements.
As with containment, government advice shall form the basis of actions to be taken.
We may seek to provide training in larger premises where increased distance between delegates can be achieved.
Communications with delegates will be of high importance – firstly to reassure that arrangements are in place to protect their health and also to ask them to provide necessary information to the company if necessary. Communications with delegates may include (depending on the nature of the situation):
- Asking delegates to confirm their recent travel movements
- Asking delegates to confirm that they have not been in contact with persons infected or persons who may have been exposed to the disease (the definition of contact will depend upon the nature of the disease)
- Asking delegates to follow some key instructions on arrival at our training venue, which may include following guidance on personal hygiene, use of PPE etc – the exact arrangements will depend upon the nature of the disease
- Reassuring delegates of arrangements made should they have reservations to attend