COVID-19

6 January 2021

Practice Policy Statement

COVID-19: Coronavirus

Policy Summary

Faithorn Farrell Timms LLP (FFT) is a responsible employer and is committed to observing and adhering to its statutory duties and obligations under the relevant health and safety legislation.

FFT is also committed in continuing providing professional service to our clients and will do whatever we reasonably can to maintain an un-interrupted service provision or mitigate disruption to projects that could be put at risk as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We are constantly monitoring, being guided by, and continue to observe UK Government guidance (and should it arise, legislation) on reasonable measures that businesses and individuals are advised to take to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. In interpretation and application of this guidance, FFT will receive and follow expert advice as necessary from professional health and employment consultants.

We consider that every individual has a personal responsibility to monitor and observe guidance and to follow arrangements and procedures we implement, especially as the potential risk of exposure exists outside as well as inside the workplace.

FFT encourages our Partners and staff, including temporary and sub-consultant contractors to continually monitor and observe all relevant Government guidance.

We have and will continue to consult with, and support our staff to help reduce, as far as reasonably practicable, the risk of spreading the Coronavirus through our workplace locations, whether in our own offices, clients and or other, construction sites or any other premises we visit in conjunction with surveying or any other related Practice activities including travel between sites.

We have put in place and regularly review and update, safe operating procedures for our working activities. We promote, through the provision of advice, training and PPE alongside the principles of social distancing to support the health and well-being of our staff and others with whom they may come into contact with.

FFT will collaborate with our clients and other parties with whom we come into contact, to observe (as far as reasonably practicable) their specific policies and procedures in relation to this matter.

We will consider, risk-assess and where practicable, implement alternative working arrangements where these are necessary or desirable to exercise control /isolation of people from infection spread.

Responsibility for this Policy rests with FFT’s Health and Safety Committee.

Context

The COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak resulted in a UK-wide ‘lockdown’ between March and June 2020. From July, lockdown restrictions were eased and most businesses were allowed to start operating and opening office premises, albeit with strict social distancing and health and safety measures put into place as per Government stipulations. Tiers systems were put into place from October 2020 but due the rapid spread of the virus this has now resulted in another UK-wide ‘lockdown’ effective from 6th January until an estimated date of March 2021.

Current Position

This note sets out FFT’s current interpretation of UK Government guidance, in terms of its applicability to our operations and people and sets out our Policy.

FFT has and will continue to monitor and adhere to UK Government guidance and – as appropriate and reasonably practicable – review and implement working processes to accommodate the implications of that guidance.

Our current view is that our people are at no greater or lower risk of exposure to infection from Coronavirus than the general UK population. We are not qualified to assess the risk to individuals and so are resisting profiling staff into ‘risk categories’.

Our policy assumes that anyone is equally at risk of infection regardless of the type of work they do or where they perform their working duties.

What is FFT doing to help reduce the risk of infection in the workplace?

We are now operating (as of January 2021) a restricted working policy in line with Government guidance with only those unable to work from home to travel into the office.

This phase of working is only being applied to staff who were normally fully office based prior to lockdown within our central support and administration teams. This approach, enables us as a Practice to ensure all staff office based, have the legal social distancing required to work safely.

Staff classified as professional and technical (often site based) are still required to work remotely until further notice. Our IT systems remain web-based for agile / remote working.

During this phase of work in the office, we have ensured all Government guidelines have been met and are being adhered to in reducing the risk of spread of Coronavirus, including:

  • Risk assessments and policies updated
  • Revised office seating plan and prohibited areas map (i.e. social areas)
  • Hygiene stations including additional hand washing / sanitizing areas
  • All staff provided with personal hand sanitizer and alcohol based wipes (personal use)
  • Clearly marked social distancing wall and floor signs
  • No visitor policy

During this period, we actively discourage professional and technical staff from visiting our offices, but where visiting our offices is essential, we have developed procedures for those staff to check-in and out so we can make all appropriate and necessary arrangements to follow this policy.

We anticipate at some point in the future we will find it appropriate, advantageous or essential to fully re-open our office premises and will update you accordingly.

Professional and technical staff are actively visiting sites to carry out survey work and construction monitoring.  We have developed safe operating procedures and a comprehensive risk assessment process for this type of activity.

Across all of our operational activity, FFT is:

  • Encouraging all staff to take personal responsibility to monitor, and maintain awareness of and implement UK Government guidance on the spread of the Coronavirus and infection control
  • Periodically circulating relevant guidance provided to FFT by our professional advisers or other recognised experts
  • Supplying and equipping staff as necessary with PPE (including face masks, gloves, and hi-vis labelled safety vests) to safely conduct their work
  • Providing all staff with alcohol-based hand cleaners, wipes and tissues to encourage personal hygiene and routine cleaning of office equipment in particular phones, computer keyboards/screens etc (whether at home or in the office)
  • Routinely updating risk assessment procedures to manage potential risk of exposure through interaction with the wider population and in particular seeking to identify circumstances where all staff  may come into contact with people that are infected or at risk of infection (by making reasonable enquires of clients and others)

Dated 6th January 2021