On 11 May 2020 the UK Government set out guidance for organisations returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The Government’s specific guidance on managing risk has been used in the preparation of our risk assessment. We have assessed the risks associated with returning to work in the UK offices and implemented a series of measures to reduce these risks. Our objective is to ensure a safe return to work for all employees that reduces risk to staff, visitors and contractors, and complies with government guidance, and allows as many work activities as possible to safely resume. We will take all staff into consideration including those who cannot attend site due to vulnerabilities or caring responsibilities. This activity is conducted under the oversight of Natasha Flores, Human Resources Director (Natasha.Flores@qube-rt.com) and involves input from all levels of the business. To better manage the risks associated with the return to work in the UK offices and to ensure that measures are sufficient and can be adapted if necessary based on feedback, we have adopted a phased return plan. Phase 1 commences on 27 July 2020, with limited staff returning to our offices. Measures and guidance will continue to develop based on feedback and continued monitoring as we move to our next planned work return. Timing of moving to the next phases will depend on feedback and reviews of measures introduced in phase 1. Throughout, staff should continue to work from home unless otherwise agreed by line managers.
The key risk areas considered and a summary of the results of the assessment, which have produced low residual risk levels, are as follows:
Hand washing facilities with soap, water and disposable paper towels and alcohol gel sanitisers are readily available throughout the offices. The importance of hand washing, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues, and avoiding touching your face is regularly communicated.
Frequent, thorough cleaning and disinfecting equipment and surfaces is in place.
Social distancing is being observed throughout the office with regular reminders communicated via posters, leaflets and signs.
In addition to the frequent cleaning and social distancing measures mentioned above, only a small number of employees are returning to the offices in the first phase. Visitors and face-to-face meetings are not permitted during phase 1.
Staff are completing compulsory self-attestations each week to ensure potential exposure is minimised and staff are reminded and focused on preventing contamination.
All employees are advised to avoid public transport. Essential workers that cannot avoid public transport must travel outside peak times, always wear a mask and practice rigorous hand sanitising on entry to the offices.
In addition to the frequent cleaning and social distancing measures mentioned above, and the small number of employees initially returning to the offices in the first phase, social distancing, walking routes and one-way access have been put in place in the shared areas of the buildings by their respective landlords.
Clear and concise signage communicating sanitising and social distancing requirements is installed at entrance and exit points on the office floors.
Only a small number of employees are returning to the offices in the first phase with visitors and face-to-face meetings not permitted.
Posters, signs and leaflets displaying reminders of public health advice, and screens between desks are installed throughout the offices.
First aid procedures and provisions, and emergency plans have been reviewed to ensure they are adequate during the return to work and all first aiders are aware of the amended practices in place as a result of COVID-19.
Goods-In procedures have been reviewed and adapted where necessary by the respective buildings’ landlords.
Personal deliveries are currently not permitted.
Procedures in place to follow in the event of exposure or suspected cases have been reviewed and communicated to staff, including a period of self-isolation and a deep clean of the affected office.
Working from home support including advice on workstation set-up has been communicated to all staff.
Further advice and support will be provided for staff that continue to work from home for an extended period later in the year.
Optimising the ventilation systems has been discussed with the buildings’ landlords. Additional mobile air filtration units will be installed and all opening windows and doors that are not fire doors will remain open. Where possible, main and mobile units are not set to recirculate.
No vulnerable workers are returning to the office in the first phase. Future phases will include protocols for people in these categories.