Covid-19 Safe Systems of Work
Author: Merlin Powder Characterisation Ltd.
Date: 27th May 2020
This document describes the safe systems of work for Merlin Powder Characterisation Ltd. It details the temporary changes in operation and behaviour required during the Covid 19 Pandemic. The company operates in a shared environment in D1 with Phoenix Materials Testing.
1. What is Covid-19?
Covid 19 is caused by a novel coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China and quickly spread across the world. It is spread between humans through close contact. It causes a wide level of symptoms. Some people can be infected and feel completely well, whilst in others it can cause severe inflammatory reactions affecting major organs, especially the lungs, and affect blood clotting, leading to death.
2. Designated Merlin Areas
Merlin has its own designated areas in D1. This includes the Merlin office. Merlin Lab 1 and Merlin lab 2. Only Merlin staff are allowed into Merlin areas. There is signage to remind visitors that they must not enter.
There are 3 members of staff who work together.
Any member of staff who thinks they are displaying Covid-19 symptoms must stay at home and isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone who has come into close contact with someone who has the virus must isolate at home for 14 days. This is based upon current Government guidelines.
3. Visitors & Deliveries
Visitors are restricted to essential visitors only e.g. maintenance, cleaning and calibration. Visitors must declare that they are not displaying virus symptoms and sign the visitor book. They must observe the 2 m social distancing rules at all time.
Deliveries are made to the D1 main door. Delivery drivers must obey social distancing rules and must hand the parcel over without direct contact with Merlin staff.
The general public are not permitted to enter the building.
3. Desks and work areas
Staff have their own workstations in the office. They are positioned so they do not face one another and are spaced out to reduce the risk of close contact. Staff must not share workstations. Hot desks are not allowed at this time.
The office are communal areas are cleaned every day by a contract cleaner. The main office and communal areas are cleaned daily. In-between, touch points are cleaned multiple times per day by Merlin staff. These are the areas where multiple people touch are the highest risk areas for transmission. These include:
- Door plates/knobs
- Key entry pads/fob plates
- Kettle & coffee making facilities.
The 3 Merlin staff can have meetings together if they socially distance during the meeting. All other meetings should be carried out by teleconference wherever possible. For any face to face meeting deemed necessary, social distancing must apply at all times.
Only essential travel is allowed at this time. Working from home is offered where appropriate to avoid unnecessary contact. Hotels, eateries and refreshment establishments are currently closed. Overnight travel cannot be carried out until Government guidelines change.
Communal public transport should be avoided if at all possible during the lockdown phase. Travel by personal car or taxi is preferred.
7. Communal areas
There are very few communal areas in D1. The left hand side of the building on the ground floor is the walk way to the laboratories. There are 2 toilets on the ground floor. Handwashing frequency should be increased in communal areas as these are the areas which will have more people passing though and have a higher risk of contamination.
Social distancing must be applied in all communal areas.
Only one person at a time in the toilet cubicle.
Hand sanitisers are available for use in communal areas.
Social distancing, small teams, frequent handwashing/hand sanitisers and frequent cleaning are the key actions being taken to prevent spread of the virus. Additional PPE is not required.
If social distancing is not possible and in the event of an emergency where Covid-19 contamination is suspected, PPE should be considered. A face mask and eye covering is highly recommended. An emergency supply of PPE is available in a box outside Lab 1.
If any PPE is required for normal working e.g. for laboratory COSHH risks, they should be worn as usual.
PPE is used to protect the wearer from hazards in the environment. Care must be taken when removing and disposing of PPE as it has to be assumed that the virus could be present on both the inside or the outside surfaces and the process of removal can cause the release of particles.
Frequent hand washing for a minimum of 20 seconds is essential to help prevent transmission. The kitchen area and toilet areas are available for handwashing. Hand sanitiser is placed at strategic points across the building e.g. entrance doors for hand sanitisation where washing is not available.
10. At risk groups
Certain medical conditions pose increased risks to individuals. Any staff member which has received an official medical shielding letter must stay at home for 12 weeks and cannot come in to work. For anyone with a family member at home who is shielding or has their own medical concerns, an individual risk assessment must be carried out for that member of staff as additional precautions may be needed.
The requirements will be reviewed as government advice changes.