With the announcement. from Boris yesterday we have new information and are now awaiting the accompanying guidance on the Exit plan for coronavirus. Some have commented that the statements made raise as many questions as they answer and this is perhaps inevitable at this stage and given the unknowns surrounding the virus. Last week we issued detailed guidance in the form of a risk management map for returning to work complete with induction presentation in PowerPoint, signage, checklists and other supporting documents to all those clients on retained support under our Safety~net competent person service. If you are a retained client and haven’t got a copy yet please contact us.
Now that we have the five alert levels it’s time to review what was issued and the impact on our previous guidance. In essence, the advice stays the same with an assessment of risk and the maintenance of 2-metre social distancing. The 5 levels are summarised below;
- Level 5 – Critical Tight lockdown, Disease spreading rapidly. NHS overwhelmed
- Level 4 – Severe (current level), Partial lockdown, Community transmission. NHS stretched but coping
- Level 3 – Substantial Disease in general circulation NHS operating at extra capacity. Restrictions remain on the public sector, business and everyday life
- Level 2 – Moderate Low transmission NHS operating normally. Schools and business open subject to some special measures
- Level 1 – Low Disease no longer present in the UK. No behavioural restrictions. Public and private sectors operate normally
In quick summary this is how we see our clients responding to the 5 levels in their exit plan for coronavirus;
- Level 5 – Critical Essential works in support of the crisis to be undertaken if required and subject to risk assessment. For example, construction works to build a hospital or other essential facilities subject to strict controls
- Level 4 – Severe (current level), Construction and manufacturing return to work subject to detailed planning and risk assessment. 2-metre rule maintained at all times, PPE reviewed and specified where required (for example social distancing cannot be maintained). travel on public transport avoided where possible, staggered arrival times, those who can continue to work from home. Contractors only onsite for essential maintenance. Work at other sites avoided where practicable.
- Level 3 – Substantial Easing of the above to allow greater production. Disinfection of workplace reviewed, some workers return to the workplace from homeworking. Contractors completing maintenance work subject to controls. Work at other sites completed subject to risk assessment.
- Level 2 – Moderate further easing of the above and perhaps reduced social distancing subject to new guidance and scientific information.
- Level 1 – Low A return to a life similar to that before lockdown?
The truth is that we are likely to remain at Level 4 for some weeks and a drop to Level 3 may well be difficult to achieve and also hard to maintain. We are a global economy and with the reproduction rate of the virus being 2.0-2.5 a return to outbreaks of COVID remains a likelihood until we can make a vaccine effective against the disease.
The future challenge which now faces us is to remain vigilant and contain the disease so that its R rate stays below 1. If we can do that the number of current infections, and with that, the number of potential infections will continue to drop. Without effective controls in place we face a continuing problem of outbreaks and the real risk of a return to the Level 5 Critical status.
For an illustration worth sharing with your workforce see the image below reproduced from the original article here:
|Scenario||5 Day Period||30 Day Period|
|No social distancing practiced||1 person infects 2.5* others||406 people infected as a result|
|50% reduction in social exposure||1 person infects 1.25* others||15 people infected as a result|
|75% reduction in social exposure||1 person infects 0.625* others||2.5 people infected as a result|
We hope that this information helps you. If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus please contact your retained safety consultant if you are a member of our Safety~net competent person service. We have a number of documents available for retained clients including model risk assessments, flow charts on isolation, administering first aid and home working, toolbox talks for office-based and field-based staff and similar documents which are being developed each day. We’re still open, our phone lines are live and we’re ready to help when needed.
- Coronavirus Risk Map (PDF): Download a copy here
- Coronavirus Risk Map (PNG Image): Download a copy here
- Coronavirus and HVAC, how your HVAC System can help
- Hand sanitising and surface sanitising, choices and options
- Exit plan for coronavirus, our observations
- Coronavirus demarcation of workplaces, examples of good practice
- How long can Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?
- Coronavirus Q&A
- Working during the coronavirus lockdown: social distancing advice from HSE
- Coronavirus RIDDOR reporting requirements (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus Risk Assessment
- Coronavirus: Cleaning your workplace before re-occupations
- Coronavirus: Should my business still be open?
- Coronavirus face masks: are they effective?