COVID Risk Assessment

Working safely during COVID-19 risk assessment for Thomson & Bancks Solicitors

Date of assessment: 01.02.2022

Background

The Practice Manager carried out the risk assessment for the firm, which provides legal services, and which leases four office buildings in four locations – 37 High Street, Pershore, Worcestershire, WR10 1AH; 27 Church Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 5RH; Ground Floor and Basement, 9 Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1QB; 1 Mansell Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6NR.

At the date of the updated assessment 65 staff work at the company including 7 Partners.

How was the risk assessment done?

The Practice Manager followed the guidance on the HM Government website on Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres. To identify the risks and restrictions required, the Practice Manager:

  • Read the government guidance, to learn where the risks are, and which precautions need to be put into place;
  • Used floor plans for each office, took measurements at different locations to ensure 2 metre social distancing and noted things that might pose a risk;
  • Considered responses to the recent staff survey sent to all staff members and, taking into consideration what was learnt from this and government guidance;

The Practice Manager then wrote down the hazards and how they can be minimised.

Putting the risk assessment into practice, the Practice Manager decided and recorded who was responsible for implementing the further actions and when they should be done. When each action was completed, it was ticked off and the date recorded. The Practice Manager distributed the risk assessment to all staff by email for comment and made it available on the office Dashboard.

The Practice Manager decided to review and update the risk assessment every 4 weeks including looking to see if the government guidance was updated (latest 27.01.2022), or straightaway if any changes in the workplace happened.

 

What are the risks? What do you need to do to manage the risk? Action by whom? Action by when? Done
Staff and visitors being able to wash their hands more frequently and thoroughly Ensure hand soap is available, increase stock. Place notices at every hand washing station for the correct technique to wash hands and for how long. Supply disposable hand drying towels, increase stock

Hand sanitizer will be supplied in communal areas for staff and visitors. All staff and visitors will be required to use sanitizer on entry to the building. If staff would like a supply on their desk they will be asked to bring their own small bottles and the firm will supply refills.

Notices are already in place – admin at each office to check. Practice Manager to ensure sufficient stock of hand soap, sanitizer and paper towels at each office.

15.06.2020 16.07.2020
Ensuring surfaces are cleaned frequently Ensure supply of cleaning wipes in each office for staff use on their work area Practice Manager 15.06.2020 16.07.2020
Ensuring shared equipment and communal areas are kept clean Supply cleaning wipes in each communal area and by all shared equipment including shared workstations. Place signs to encourage use of wipes after every use of equipment. Practice Manager 15.06.2020 16.07.2020
Keeping the offices clean Work with cleaning staff to ensure offices are cleaned and high standards are met & risk of cleaners transmitting COVID-19 are minimalised Practice Manager 24.08.2020 28.09.2020
Keeping 2 metre social distancing Social distancing measures have now been removed but may be put back in place if advice changes 27.09.2021 27.09.2021
Others not keeping to social distancing & good hygiene in shared building Cheltenham office is shared with 1 other company. We may need to discuss the measures needed with those companies and the landlord if issues arise Partner in Cheltenham to ensure things are adhered to 15.06.2020
Keeping staff safe Receptions will be supplied with screens for the reception desks to protect the receptionist from close contact with visitors

Face coverings should be worn on entry to the office and whilst moving around the common areas in the office. Face coverings whilst at workstations is not required but staff may choose to

The use of phone, Teams and email are preferred methods of communication as an alternative to face to face staff contact where possible

Wall signs will be kept to remind people of best hygiene practices for colleagues and visitors

Where a fax machine is located in the reception area, staff must ask the receptionist to send the fax

Staff must limit any visit to Pershore reception. Anyone needing to see the receptionist must only stand in the door way or go to the waiting area where the screen is and keep their visit as short as possible. If you are leaving a fax to be sent, leave just inside the door

Opening doors and windows is encouraged for ventilation. Heating timers will be extended if needed to make this more comfortable for staff. CO2 monitors will be used to periodically assess ventilation in meeting rooms and areas of multiple occupancy each office. Following initial monitoring no areas of particular concern were identified

Practice Manager to arrange any signage and screens and inform staff

 

All staff members to ensure they comply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice Manager to organise CO2 monitors and readings

 

 

15.06.2020

 

 

 

 

15.06.2020

 

 

 

 

 

01.10.2020

 

 

 

 

 

27.09.2021

 

 

 

16.07.2020

 

 

 

 

Ongoing

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing

Deliveries and post Deliveries should be handled by one person only and once dealt with and packaging disposed of that person should immediately wash their hands thoroughly Practice Manager to inform staff

 

15.06.2020

 

 

16.07.2020

 

 

Visitors All visitors must have our hygiene procedures explained to them before or upon arrival

Face coverings for visitors and staff will be required in reception and whilst moving around the office but are optional during meetings depending on the personal preferences of the individuals involved

Visitors wearing face coverings must be informed that they should be prepared to remove their face covering if asked to do so by staff for the purposes of identification

Practice Manager to arrange signage and organise the moving of seating etc.

 

 

Receptionists and all staff to comply

 

15.06.2020

 

 

 

 

 

15.06.2020

16.07.2020

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing

Disabled visitors The staff member who is expecting the disabled visitor must let them into the building All staff to ensure they comply 15.06.2020 Ongoing
Meetings Face to face meetings are permitted.

If working from home, the staff member conducting the meeting must arrive at the office in good time before the appointment time and be dressed appropriately

Visitors should be asked not to arrive at the office until the time of their appointment

The staff member who holds the meeting must ensure the wiping down of all surfaces and door handles within the meeting room after the visitors have left

There should be a 15 minute gap allowed between appointments to allow for cleaning of the meeting room and to avoid too many people in reception

All staff to ensure they comply 15.06.2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gap added 14.05.2021

Ongoing
Home visits The staff member attending the home visit should discuss with the occupiers the need to leave internal doors open to minimize contact

Home owners should be encouraged to have windows open

Face coverings will be used on a voluntary basis based on the preferences of the people taking part

Staff member to ensure they sanitize on entry and exit of the home

Where possible, the same person/people should attend the same home to reduce risks

All staff to ensure they comply 27.09.2021
Delivery and collection of documents and payments Clients dropping off or collecting documents must be asked to pass documents through the slot in the screen

If a client is dropping ID to be copied they must be asked to wait to take the documents back with them, they may wait outside the building if they prefer. It should not be common practice to offer to post them back by Royal Mail Signed For or any other form of postage

Any client wishing to make a payment must be encouraged to do so using online banking or by phone. Clients will not be permitted entry to accounts in Tewkesbury to make a payment in person. If in another office they should be encouraged to telephone the Tewkesbury office to make payment when they return home instead of using an office phone

Practice Manager to communicate to staff

 

All staff to ensure they comply

15.06.2020

 

 

 

15.06.2020

16.07.2020

 

 

 

Ongoing

Staff wellbeing Those working from home should attend the office at least twice a week.

Any staff member who believes they have COVID-19 symptoms must not come into the office. They must book a PCR test and report to a Partner once they have received the results.

If a staff member tests positive on a lateral flow and has none of the main symptoms of COVID-19 they may not need to book a PCR test and must start their self-isolation period immediately. Staff should follow current government guidance to ascertain if they need a PCR as well. If after a positive lateral flow with no symptoms a staff member develops symptoms, they must restart their self-isolation period from the day after they develop symptoms

If they have been in recent contact with another who now shows symptoms (high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change to sense of smell or taste) or have been advised to self-isolate as part of the government’s test and trace service must follow current government guidance regarding lateral flow tests and self-isolation.

If someone in a staff member’s household tests positive for COVID, the staff member must stay at home and contact a Partner of the firm to discuss requirements but should not attend the office for 5 days.

As for all absences staff must telephone the office on the first day of absence and speak with a Partner to discuss their situation

Practice Manager to communicate to staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

All staff to ensure they comply

15.06.2020

Updated to attend office 14.05.2021

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing

16.07.2020
Staff testing Staff are encouraged to take lateral flow tests twice a week if they are asymptomatic

Tests are available to order online or collect at local collection points – ordering and finding your local collection point can be found here https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

If a staff member tests positive on a lateral flow test they must not attend the office. They must start their self-isolation period

If a member of staff does test positive on a lateral flow test they must inform a Partner immediately and discuss the option of working from home

Thomson & Bancks are obliged to report positive staff results to the Self-Isolation Service Hub supplying the 8-digit Test & Trace Account ID (or CTAS number) and a list of close contacts.

Managing Partner to communicate to staff

 

 

 

 

 

Staff to ensure they comply and do not attend an office if they receive a positive result

 

 

Practice Manager to send form to staff members who test positive to obtain this information & will then report

 

15.04.2021 Ongoing
PPE The government is not encouraging the use of precautionary PPE in office settings as they will not protect you but a face covering may provide a small amount of protection to others if you have been infected but not showing symptoms in enclosed spaces. Regular hand washing and surface cleaning are far more effective. Practice Manager to communicate to staff 15.06.2020 16.07.2020
Staff not following the guidance The measures have been put in place to protect the business, its staff and clients. Anyone who does not follow the correct social distancing and hygiene procedures may be subject to disciplinary procedures Partners Ongoing
Assisting with the Test & Trace Service Pre-COVID records will be kept of visitors to the offices or they should be asked to check in using the government’s Test & Trace app by scanning our unique QR code although this is no longer a requirement. Receptionists Ongoing
Being able to manage an outbreak effectively Ensure we have a COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan Practice Manager & Partners 03.08.2020 13.08.2020

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