Coronavirus Policy


Coronavirus (Covid 19) Policy

The organisation has developed the following guidance/policy in response to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Further up to date advice is available on https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

There are a number of links within this policy that should be used to provide the most up to date information in a changing situation.

Basic hygiene precautions are key to the minimisation of risk with these detailed in the preventing spread of infection section below.

Signs and symptoms

The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • cough
  • difficulty in breathing
  • fever

Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions.

Spreading

The spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres or less) with an infected person.

Respiratory secretions produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes containing the virus are most likely to be the main means of transmission.

There are 2 main routes by which people can spread COVID-19:

  • infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or possibly could be inhaled into the lungs.
  • it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching door knob or shaking hands then touching own face)

Preventing spread of infection

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and
  • water are not available. See hand washing guidance
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors, for example:

  • what surface the virus is on
  • whether it is exposed to sunlight
  • differences in temperature and humidity
  • exposure to cleaning products

Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours.

We know that similar viruses are transferred to and by people’s hands. Therefore, regular hand hygiene and cleaning of frequently touched surfaces will help to reduce the risk of infection. Advise can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/866065/Handwashing_techniques.pdf

COVID-19: Specified countries and areas with implications for returning travellers or visitors arriving in the UK

Category 1: Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and call NHS 111 to inform of recent travel. Go home or to your destination and then self isolate.

Category 2: Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.

Current Categories can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas-with-implications-for-returning-travellers-or-visitors-arriving-in-the-uk

What to do if an employee or a member of the public becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19

If the person has not been to specified areas in the last 14 days, then normal practice should continue. Due to the continued changing nature of the situation specific country lists can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus and https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

If someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has travelled to China or other affected countries (as above link), the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If possible find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.

The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.

Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag or pocket then throw the tissue in the bin. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.

If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available.

What to do if a member of staff or the public with suspected COVID-19 has recently been in our workplace

For contacts of a suspected case in the workplace, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID19 are awaited. In particular, there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home at this point. Most possible cases turn out to be negative. Therefore, until the outcome of test results is known there is no action that the workplace needs to take.

What to do if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in our workplace

Closure of the workplace is not recommended.

The management team of the office will be contacted by the PHE local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.

A risk assessment of each setting will be undertaken by the Health Protection Team with the lead responsible person.

The Health Protection Team will also be in contact with the case directly to advise on isolation and identifying other contacts and will be in touch with any contacts of the case to provide them with appropriate advice.

When individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

If a confirmed case is identified in our workplace, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant staff with advice. These staff include:

  • any employee in close face-to-face or touching contact
  • talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the employee was symptomatic
  • anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids
  • close friendship groups or workgroups
  • any employee living in the same household as a confirmed case

Contacts are not considered cases and if they are well they are very unlikely to have spread the infection to others:

  • Those who have had close contact will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the confirmed case and follow the home isolation advice sheet they will be actively followed up by the Health Protection Team.
  • if they develop new symptoms or their existing symptoms worsen within their 14-day observation period they should call NHS 111 for reassessment
  • if they become unwell with cough, fever or shortness of breath they will be tested for COVID-19
  • if they are unwell at any time within their 14-day observation period and they test positive for COVID-19 they will become a confirmed case and will be treated for the infection

Staff who have not had close contact with the original confirmed case do not need to take any precautions and can continue to attend work.

Advice for staff returning from travel anywhere else in the world within the last 14 days

Currently, there are minimal cases outside the listed areas and therefore the likelihood of an individual coming into contact with a confirmed case is extremely low.

These staff can continue to attend work unless they have been informed that they have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

If individuals are aware that they have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should contact NHS 111 for further advice.

The latest country information is available on the NaTHNac Travel Pro website. https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Operational Contingency Plan

Guideline has invested significantly over recent years, into Cloud based systems. This will enable our management and back-office support teams to continue to provide the high level of service to our customers, albeit at a potentially reduced level, should working from home or
self-isolation become prevalent.

All current communication channels will be unaffected although in order to avoid non-essential travel and the requirement to minimise social interaction to reduce the transmission of coronavirus, we will encourage all non-urgent site meetings to be conducted via video link or conference call.

Due to the potentially high levels of self-isolation cases that may arise from site-based incidences, Guideline will need to assess each case individually and act accordingly.

Should high levels of self-isolation cases occur within Guideline’s on-site engineering staff, then physical attendance by Guideline personnel may be the most difficult to attain. In this event, Guideline may amend our normal service routines to the provision of an emergency only callout service that will aim to ensure our clients lift service is maintained. Callouts will be allocated on a health & safety priority basis.

Guideline have been in regular communication with our supply chain partners, since being alerted to the potential impact of COVID 19, to assess the impact on component availability and delivery lead times. To date this has focussed on equipment that emanates from the countries that have known travel restrictions. We will continue to monitor this over the coming period and update this operational contingency plan accordingly.

Further helpful links

Home isolation – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-self-isolation-for-patients-undergoing-testing/advice-sheet-home-isolation

PHE Health Protection Teams – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/contacts-phe-health-protection-teams

Catch it – Bin it – Kill it poster: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101/resources/5016

Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-the-foreign-commonwealth-office-puts-together-travel-advice

Date: 17/03/2020