The Benyon Estate (the Estate) strives to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees, contractors and visitors.
This policy outlines the measures we are actively taking to mitigate the spread of coronavirus within our workplace and/or workforce.
All staff, contractors and visitors are required to follow all these rules diligently, so as to help us sustain a healthy and safe workplace during these unique times. It is important that we all respond responsibly and transparently to these health precautions, and we assure you that we will always treat your private health and personal data with the highest confidentiality and sensitivity.
This Coronavirus (COVID-19) policy will be subject to changes with the introduction of additional Governmental guidelines when necessary and will be reviewed accordingly.
The Estate will keep up to date and comply with the latest Government and Public Health information about the risk of coronavirus in the UK, via the Government website and Government Daily Briefings.
What is the Coronavirus?
The World Health Organisation explains that coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:
a new continuous cough
a high temperature
a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you should self-isolate at home.
Some people will suffer from mild illness and recover easily whilst in other cases, infection can progress to pneumonia. Reports suggest that the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are the most susceptible to serious illness and death.
How is the virus passed on?
The virus is most likely to spread from person to person through:
Direct contact with a person while they are infectious;
Contact with droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes;
Touching objects or surfaces (such as drinking mugs, door handles or desks) that were contaminated by droplets from secretions coughed or sneezed from an infected person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
Staff Health and Self-isolation
Staff who have any of the symptoms of or are unwell with suspected COVID-19, who have come into contact with an infected individual or who share a household with someone who is unwell must not come to work and must comply with the latest Government advice about self-isolating themselves in their home.
The guidance states that:
people who have symptoms of infection should self-isolate by staying at home and not leaving their house for seven days from when the symptoms started;
those who live with others and one person has symptoms should self-isolate as a household for 14 days from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
All staff who are self-isolating must inform their Manager as soon as possible that they will not be coming into work. Where staff have issues with school closures, working hours and caring or shielding responsibilities these will be discussed on a case by case basis.
General Hygiene Rules
Because the virus can be contracted by transporting germs from contaminated objects, hand-washing is the best way to protect against COVID-19. In soap lather, a combination of molecules assembles into bubble-like structures called micelles that trap viral matter and other biomaterials—grease, oil, dirt—and rinse them down the drain. The soaps we use contain a class of compounds called surfactants, which can neutralize germs in our skin. Surfactants basically pry open coronavirus particles and encapsulate viral molecules within micelles suspended in the lather clinging to your hands.
It is therefore important to maintain high levels of personal hygiene by: -
Washing your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use 70% alcohol hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to and to supplement hand washing during the day;
To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol hand sanitising gel;
If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people;
Close the toilet seat prior to flushing the toilet;
Open the windows in your area regularly (minimum 15 minutes opening, even when this causes some thermal discomfort) to ensure ventilation;
Avoid touching your face, particularly eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands to prevent infection.
We will support staff and their households to access coronavirus testing in accordance with Government guidelines.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This applies for an indefinite period due to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.
The Estate requires staff to comply with any advice provided by the Government and to inform their Line Manager wherever they intend to travel outside the UK during the pandemic. We may require you to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return as a precaution when you return to the UK, to protect yourself and others. When you return to the UK on a flight from another country, you should follow the current government advice. If you start to have symptoms like a high temperature or frequent cough, go straight home and self-isolate for 7 days. See the guidance for households with a possible infection and call NHS 111 if your symptoms worsen. For further guidance, visit gov.uk/coronavirus or visit nhs.uk for specialist medical advice.
Social distancing and self-isolation have been introduced by the Government to reduce the spread of the coronavirus infection both at work and in public. The Estate will take all reasonably practicable steps to facilitate employees working from home where work can be done from home. Where it is not possible to work from home you can still travel to work, provided you are not displaying coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating.
We will ensure that employees are able, where possible, to follow Public Health guidelines on social distancing within the working environment (including, where possible, maintaining a 2-metre distance / 6ft / 3-steps from others), and hygiene (washing hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds, or using 70% alcohol hand sanitising gel).
We will comply with Government guidance on social distancing at work.
Non-essential visitors and contractors
All non-essential visitors and contractors will be prohibited to ensure that the threat of cross infection is minimised. Instead meetings will be held by phone or video conferencing if needed.
Any visitor or contractor visits that are deemed to be essential will be strictly managed, ensuring that the persons visiting confirm prior to the visit that they do not have any relevant symptoms or are otherwise at increased risk of cross infection. Hand washing must take place upon arrival to the business. Essential contractors and visitors will be limited to the minimum number necessary on site at any one time.
Property Management & Maintenance
We will put in place safe systems of work for members of staff visiting and working in Estate properties occupied by third parties.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
All staff will be trained in the safe use of PPE, as identified in the risk assessment and in accordance with Government and Health Safety Executive guidance.
Monitoring and Review
This policy will be continuously monitored and updated to take account of any changes to the official advice provided about coronavirus.
Edward Crookes, Estates Director and Company Secretary
Dated: 5th June 2020
Policy review date: 1st January 2021