“Byrom Street offers ‘very experienced counsel who are able to advise in relation to all personal injury and clinical negligence matters.’"

Working safely during COVID-19


29th June 2020

Working safely during COVID-19

In force from 29th June until further notice

 

This document is to help members of chambers and staff understand how to live and work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping as many people as possible 2 metres apart. It is likely to be a ‘dynamic document’ that will be updated to reflect government advice and the needs of those using Chambers

As you will see, Steve, Matt or Michelle will issue a daily notification as to who is working where and in the same document will update on Covid-19 issues where necessary.

 

COVID-19 – 2 metre government update

COVID-19 is transmitted in three ways:

  1. Direct person-to-person contact - if an infectious person breathes droplets on you or you pick them up through physical contact with an infectious person.
  2. Contact with a contaminated surface - if you touch a surface contaminated with the virus and then touch your nose, eyes or mouth, you may be infected.
  3. Aerosol transmission - fine droplets of liquid containing virus are breathed out, form an aerosol and are carried through the air. You may become infected if you breathe these in.

If you are further away from someone there’s less risk of catching the virus from droplets or aerosol transmission. However, distance isn’t the only thing that matters.

  • Duration - the longer you are close to an infectious person, the higher the risk.
  • Fresh air - the risk is lower if you are outdoors, or in a well ventilated area,
  • Direction - the risk is lower if you are not face-on with the infectious person

The risk of transmission is small at 2m and where possible, you should maintain 2m distance.

If it is not possible to keep 2m distance, reduce the risk to yourself and others at 1m by taking suitable precautions:

  • Limit the number of people or households that you come into contact with, e.g. avoid peak travel
  • Sit / stand side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them
  • Meet people outdoors, rather than indoors
  • Keep interactions brief
  • Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops or crowded indoor environments
  • Increase ventilation
  • Avoid loud talking or singing with others

To minimise the risk of transmission via surface contact, you should:

  • Regularly wash your hands using soap and water or use hand sanitiser
  • Avoid touching surfaces and do not touch your face
  • Dispose of waste safely, including items such as paper face masks or gloves

In all cases, you must not go to work or attend other public spaces if you are symptomatic, or a member of your household is symptomatic. Chambers will expect staff and members to observe the official government guidelines and to comply with the law. A failure to do so may put others to whom Chambers have a duty of care at risk.

 

 

 

Objective

What can be done?

 

Risk and managing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce the risk of the virus to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures.

 

 

 

  • We have carried out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment.

 

  • Clerks and members should comply with social distancing (2 meters apart). Under present guidelines only TWO members of staff should work in the clerks room at any given time.

 

  • Use back to back or side to side working – staff should sit at each end of the clerks room table in order to avoid breaking the 2m distance rule.

 

  • Increase the frequency of hand washing - on arrival members of chambers and staff are required to wash their hands.

 

  • Chambers will provide hand sanitisers on all tables in all conference rooms at both entry points and the appropriate signage in place to act as a reminder.

 

  • Ensure a thorough clean of chambers is carried out at least once per day.

 

  • Any use of office equipment should be cleaned by the user with  disinfectant wipes (eg. photocopier, keyboard, mouse, telephone).

 

  • Each clerk/member to use their own office equipment only.

 

  • because it is not practicable to keep doors open because of confidentiality and fire safety reasons handles are to be regularly cleaned with disinfectant wipes after touching.

 

  • The numbers of rooms in use should be kept to a minimum and this will be achieved by people working from home where possible

 

 

Who should go to work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone should work from home unless they cannot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting people who are at higher risk and those who need to self-isolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maintaining equality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • If working from home is not possible, inform the clerks at least the day before you intend to come into chambers so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

 

  • Steve and Matt will plan for the minimum/maximum number of people needed in chambers to operate safely and effectively.

 

  • Each evening the clerks will issue a list of who is attending chambers the next day, and which members of staff are working at home and which are on leave. The same notice will provide parking space usage

 

  • Provide those staff who are working from home with the necessary equipment needed to carry out their role (eg. laptops, stationery, use of the telephone system etc).

 

  • Any member of chambers or staff that may be reluctant to return to work in chambers should speak to the Senior Clerk, Head or Deputy Head of Chambers to raise their concerns.

 

  • Monitor the wellbeing of members of chambers and staff working remotely, helping them to stay connected with others by making regular contact (eg. MS Teams meetings)

 

  • Make sure individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance do not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the government's test and trace service. All members of chambers and staff must as soon as practicable inform the either the senior clerk, Head of Chambers or Deputy Head if they fall into any of the above categories.

 

  • Enable members and staff to work from home while self-isolating, if appropriate, by providing the necessary equipment and support needed.

 

  • Treat everyone/all staff members in chambers equally when assessing who should work from home and who should come into chambers. It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex, disability, race or ethnicity.

 

  • We will make reasonable adjustments to avoid any disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.

 

  • Make sure that the steps taken do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

 

 

 

Social distancing at work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maintaining 2m social distancing in chambers and on arrival/departure to reduce the transmission of the virus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prioritising safety during incidents

 

 

 

  • All those who are working in chambers must maintain social distancing wherever possible.

 

  • For the present Chambers recommends using Video conferencing/telephone facilities where possible to avoid in person meetings.

 

  • Where a chambers based conference or meeting is necessary only absolutely necessary participants should physically attend chambers  and should maintain 2m separation throughout. Avoiding transmission during meetings, for example, avoiding sharing pens, documents and other objects. Hand sanitisers will be provided in each conference room.

 

  • Chambers will seek to avoid or minimise multi-use of conference and other rooms during the course of any day. Where this cannot be avoided, work and other contact surfaces will be cleaned after each use. Members of chambers must check with the clerks that this has been done before using the room.

 

  • In order to ensure effective cleaning members of chambers are required to ensure that all papers and personal belongings are removed from the conference room after completed use.

 

  • MANCOM is actively considering converting conference rooms or currently unused members’ rooms into staff offices to enable adequate distancing. Currently chambers cannot have all 6 members of staff working in the clerks room.

 

  • Use back to back or side to side working rather than face-to-face – clerks should sit at either end of the clerks room table to avoid breaking the 2m distance rule.

 

  • Only one person to use the kitchen at any one time.  Depending on numbers in Chambers the senior clerk present may give directions as to which use of the kitchen facilities on the Third and Ground floors

 

  • Members of Chambers and staff are encouraged to minimise the use of shared spaces, such as the kitchens by bringing into chambers home prepared snacks, lunch and refreshments

 

 

  • Chambers to consider providing additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to work where possible.

 

  • The parking spaces will be available to staff as a priority

 

  • Avoid using the lift if you can and use the stairs instead.  Handrails are present to ensure safe use of stairs and should be used whenever necessary, however and subject to the same personal safety needs please avoid and unnecessary contact with handrails  and other surfaces

 

  • If an individual requires to use the lift it should be single occupancy per journey to reduce close contact with others and any surface touched should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes.
  •  
  • Whilst social distancing remains in place chambers ensures the regular maintenance of it’s security and fire safety measures are carried out.

 

  • In an emergency eg. fire, break-in, first aid, people do not have to stay 2 metres apart if it would be unsafe to do so.
  • See chambers Health & Safety policy (MAN7) for the up to date government advice on dealing with emergencies.
  • As this is a new disease this is an ever changing situation and the government and NHS are continually updating their advice.
  • The head and deputy head of chambers, Steve, Matt and Michelle will consider every week the NHS 111 or Gov.uk website which has a specific section on Coronavirus and Steve or Michelle will each Monday set out any changes to this protocol and will say so if there have been none.

Managing visitors to chambers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure people understand what they need to do to maintain safety.

  • The number of visitors to chambers should be limited at any one time and should be arranged through the clerks.

 

  • Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, for example, signage, visual aids and before arrival, for example, by phone, on the website, by email. Consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are visually impaired.

 

  • All visitors to be encouraged to use hand sanitisers on entering chambers.

 

  • Inform visitors that they should be prepared to remove face coverings if asked to do so by staff for the purposes of identification.

 

  • Review chambers entry and exits to make sure they can be used safely.

 

Cleaning the workplace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before reopening make sure chambers is clean and ready to restart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To keep chambers clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hygiene – handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets to help everyone keep good hygiene through the working day

 

  • Chambers to carry out a deep clean of the building before members and staff return to work.

 

  • Open windows and doors frequently to encourage ventilation, where possible.

 

  • The air conditioning units in each room have been tried and left to run for ten minutes.

 

  • All toilets have been flushed before restarting.

 

  • Steve will ensure that the cleaning staff and the employing agency receive good written  instructions and understand the importance of carrying out thorough cleaning properly and safely.

 

  • Work areas to be cleaned frequently including counsel’s rooms and the clerks room.

 

  • Chambers to Implement a clear desk policy to facilitate the regular cleaning and sanitising of workstations. Distribute products for each member and staff for cleaning mice, keyboards and phones.

 

  • Avoid sharing work stations.

 

  • Making sure that regular cleaning of toilets and bathrooms are carried out.

 

  • Chambers photocopier and any high-touch items and are to be wiped down after use using disinfectant wipes.

 

  • Door handles should be regularly cleaned.

 

  • The individual that sets and disables the alarm should wipe down the keypad after use.

 

  • Encourage the storage of personal items and clothing in personal storage spaces. eg desk drawers.

 

  • Members of chambers and staff are encouraged to bring their own refreshments to avoid the use of communal equipment for preparing food or drink.

 

  • Steve to organise for Signs to be displayed in chambers asking that sanitisers be used and personal hygiene maintained in order to build awareness of good handwashing technique and the need to increase handwashing frequency.

 

  • Avoid touching your face and cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

 

  • Bathrooms can be allocated to members and staff on a day to day basis.

 

  • Paper towels and bins provided in each bathroom with signage not to use the hand driers.

 

  • Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

 

  • Chambers to provide hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes in conference rooms and bathrooms.

 

  • If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should refer to the specific guidance.

 

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To minimise the transmission of the virus between members, staff and others.

  • Disposable gloves and face coverings will be provided in chambers should any member/staff require the same. Alternatively their reasonable cost will be re-imbursed.

 

  • Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and before and after taking them off.

 

  • Members of chambers and staff should support those using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one. This means by advising them to:

 

  • Wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and before and after removing it.?

 

  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.

 

  • Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.

 

  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.

 

  • Change and wash your face covering daily.

 

  • If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste.

 

  • You can make face-coverings at home and can find guidance on how to do this and use them safely on GOV.UK.

 

Workforce Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To consider the way work is organised and to reduce the number of contacts each employee has.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communications and Training when returning to Chambers.

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing communications and signage.

 

  • Members of chambers should only come into chambers if necessary. They will be allocated a room in which to work.

 

 

  • Members are also advised to check with the clerks of the availability of parking spaces the day before coming into chambers.

 

  • Currently only two out of six clerks are working in chambers to minimise contact and parking is to be made available to staff should it be required.

 

  • Flexible working arrangements such as timings are to be considered.

 

  • Stagger and publish dailyproposed arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of chambers, taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics.

 

 

  • Consider non-essential travel and the requirements of staff to engage in public transport.

 

  • If public transport is used consider wearing an outer garment than can be  readily removed or a change of clothes on entering Chambers.

 

  • Identify areas where people directly pass things to each other, for example office supplies, and finding ways to remove direct contact, such as making sure you have your own supply of stationery.

 

  • Providing clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of ways of working.

 

  • The Senior clerk will consider whether specific guidance in the form of Do’s and Don’ts might be required

 

  • Using simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of groups for which English may not be their first language and those with protected characteristics such as visual impairments.

 

 

 

 

Inbound and outgoing goods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce the risk of transmission of the virus on inbound and outbound goods and by those who are delivering or collecting such goods.

 

 

 

  • Chambers will seek to limit the delivery of parcels and letters from all sources by actively encouraging our solicitors and other third party suppliers to send them electronically.

 

  • Reduce non-business deliveries, for example, personal deliveries to chambers.

 

  • The front door to chambers will be left open when the weather permits. Parcels will be left in the waiting room. All members and staff are encouraged to use the side gate and rear door.

 

  • Any parcel/letter delivered to chambers remain untouched for 2 hours after delivery to reduce the risk of the virus being contracted from the parcel/letter.

 

  • Gloves are to be used when handling incoming parcels and letters.

 

  • On the delivery of any groceries to chambers there should be no need to sanitise the outer packaging of food. This is because food businesses are required to have a system for managing food safety in place, which should include keeping packaging clean. You should still follow good hygiene practice by washing your hands after handling any outer packaging.

 

 




 

©2020 Byrom Street Chambers. All Rights Reserved.