Covid-19 Risk Assessment

The purpose of this document is to assess the risk to the firm’s staff and visitors presented by attendance at the firm’s premises during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is recorded at the outset that the firm’s policy is to:

Protect the welfare of the firm’s staff and clients above all other considerations;

  • Follow the regulation and advice of HM Government and NHS/PHE as published directly on their respective websites;
  • Keep this risk assessment under constant review.
  • The main areas of risk of infection or transmission by attending the firm’s premises are identified below and for convenience are considered separately as they affect members of staff and visitors. Appropriate action to remove or minimise risk is identified.

This assessment will be reviewed on a regular basis or urgently as required. Throughout this document the terms ‘Social Distance’ and ‘Social Distancing’ are abbreviated to ‘SD’. Throughout the document, the use of the term “staff” or “staff member” is to include all staff, directors and consultants.

Risk  Staff  Visitors  Action 
Transmission of infection by those who test positive for Covid-19 or are Covid symptomatic No member of staff who has tested positive in the previous 7 days, has been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and told to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days or has suffered from any Covid symptoms (as defined by NHS/PHE) for any period beginning in the previous 7 days may attend our premises, and must leave upon the on-set of any symptoms. First-aiders can assist in temperature-taking. No visitor who has tested positive in the previous 7 days, has been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and told to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days or has suffered from any Covid symptoms (as defined by NHS/PHE) for any period beginning in the previous 7 days may attend our premises, and must leave upon the on-set of any symptoms.  

S: All staff to be informed in writing and notices placed in kitchens.
V: To be included in meeting instructions on website, emailed to every attendee pre-meeting and displayed at each office entrance, reception and meeting room.

 

Transmission of infection by those who are post symptomatic or co symptomatic No member of staff may attend our premises within 7 days of suffering from symptoms, within the time frame advised having been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service (a minimum of 14 days) or within 14 days of someone they live with suffering symptoms. These timings may be varied to reflect NHS/PHE guidelines. No visitor may attend our premises within 7 days of suffering from symptoms, within the time frame advised having been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service (a minimum of 14 days) or within 14 days of someone they live with suffering symptoms. These timings may be varied to reflect NHS/PHE guidelines. S: All staff to be informed in writing and notices placed in kitchens.
V: To be included in meeting instructions on website, emailed to every pre-booked visitor pre-visit and displayed at each office entrance, reception and meeting room.
Shielding
Clinically extremely vulnerable
Compliance with NHS/PHE guidelines is required, as set out in section 2.1 of the Government’s publication ‘Working Safely During Covid-19 in Offices’ dated 11 May 2020.  N/A S: Notification to HR required by email.
Clinically vulnerable Employees at higher risk of severe illness must be considered on a case by case basis.  N/A S: Notification to HR required by email.
Transmission of infection by contact with or proximity to others: Meetings All meetings between staff or with clients should take place remotely where possible, either by phone or video-conference. Where a meeting is unavoidable for technical or operational reasons it must be pre-booked in a meeting room and SD guidance for that room must be observed. Each member of staff will be supplied with hand-sanitiser to be used regularly when entering, leaving or at the firm’s premises. No physical contact between staff or with visitors is permitted. Only one member of AH staff should attend any meeting unless there are exceptional reasons.
Offsite meetings should be avoided where possible. If they take place the same safety approach should be taken. The client/contact should be asked to provide a copy of their risk assessment and to confirm they can provide a compliant safe environment.
Client meetings will only take place where the purpose of the meeting cannot take place remotely, by phone or video-conference. Meetings must be pre-booked in a meeting room and SD guidance must be observed. Visitors will be required to use hand-sanitiser on entering the firm’s premises, and this will be included in meeting instructions. It is expected that no meetings, or a minimal number will be needed while SD provisions are in place. Clients should be advised to keep meetings to individuals only unless there are exceptional reasons. Visitors are requested to avoid any form of physical greeting. S: Video-conferencing for meetings will take place using the staff member’s allocated IT equipment and screen sharing will not be permitted.
V: SD guidance is included in the meeting instructions and must be sent to the visitor in advance if possible, and must always be drawn to the visitor’s attention when being directed by a receptionist to the meeting room. It is also displayed at the entrance to the firm’s offices.
S&V: All meeting rooms have been re-configured to be SD-compliant.
Cleaning: Meeting room tables and chairs will be wiped down by the staff member holding the meeting after each meeting.
Enhanced risk of transmission of infection at reception, entrances and doorways Numbers and density of staff may require staggering of start and finish times. Each office has been assessed to identify an office-specific protocol for arrival and departure, covering doorways and direction of movement within the building where appropriate. SD marking is in place in reception and meeting rooms to the extent necessary, e.g. floor markings at reception, zonal taping for meeting rooms, threshold marking at the entrance to rooms where considered necessary. Where possible, all doors excluding the entrance doors will remain open throughout the day. SD marking has been put in place at all entrances as well as in reception and meeting rooms. Instructions for approaching reception will be visible for visitors at each office entrance. S: Instructions for working in each office will be published to each member of staff by email, website and on kitchen notice-boards.
Rooms All rooms have been reviewed and reconfigured as necessary, including the relocation of individual members of staff, to ensure that no two members of staff are expected to sit within 2m of each other in any direction.
Where possible, rooms will be limited to one occupant and there will be no desk sharing or hot desking. During working hours, all internal doors should be propped open and where possible all windows kept open. A person should be designated to check all doors and windows are closed and where relevant locked when the office closes.
Members of staff are invited to raise any concerns regarding their workspace with Patrick Lee, and where possible such concerns will be accommodated including by considering the provision of barrier screens or relocation.
Clients must not be permitted to enter the firm’s premises beyond reception and meeting room areas. Other visitors such as service engineers, those making deliveries, etc. must enter and leave only via reception and must be escorted while on the firm’s premises. Direction will be given to receptionists on the process for arranging escorts. Cleaning: An enhanced cleaning regime has been implemented prior to re-opening and will be maintained thereafter, including focus on public areas.
S: Instructions for working in each office will be published to each member of staff by email, website and on kitchen notice-boards.
Stairs and corridors SD cannot be guaranteed by the firm and it is the responsibility of all members of staff to avoid encroaching within 2m of each other wherever possible. Measures include checking that a corridor or staircase is clear before embarking upon it, and waiting at ‘passing points’ if a colleague is approaching. Rules to promote SD are ‘Keep Left’ and ‘Going Up has Right of Way’, and staff are encouraged to be vocal in alerting colleagues who may not have seen them. Specific instruction for each office is included in the notes published to staff on working in each office. These arrangements will be reviewed periodically and adapted as necessary and staff are encouraged to raise concerns or make suggestions about their implementation, including through staff-appointed safety representatives. N/A for clients. Other visitors should be escorted following the same measures and routes as members of staff. S: Instructions for working in each office will be published to each member of staff by email, website and on kitchen notice-boards.
Office equipment Hand-sanitiser must be used before and after touching any item of office equipment away from the personal workstation of the member of staff in question, including printer-copiers, franking machines, binding equipment, etc. Where possible office equipment should not be shared and if unavoidable, each user is required to clean off the equipment after using the materials provided.  N/A S: Instructions for working in each office will be published to each member of staff by email, website and on kitchen notice-boards.
Kitchens Visits to kitchens should be kept to a minimum both in number and duration. Drinks must not be made for colleagues. Only one person at a time is permitted in any kitchen. Recognising that it isn’t possible in every case to see whether the kitchen is occupied or empty, “Free/Engaged” sliding signs have been installed outside each kitchen to ensure that it can be seen from outside the kitchen whether or not it is vacant. Hand-sanitiser must be used before and after touching any equipment within the kitchen, including taps, kettles, cutlery and crockery. Only single-use paper towels may be used for any drying purpose in the kitchen. No personal food must be left in the fridge overnight, staff members are encouraged to bring their own food and drink from home. All uneaten food must be removed from the office on a daily basis. Each staff member will be allocated one mug for drinks. They must wash this after each drink and at the end of the day place it in the dishwasher for an overnight wash. Dirty crockery or cutlery of any kind must NOT be left in your room. The microwave and coffee maker must not be used.  N/A S: Instructions for working in each office will be published to each member of staff by email, website and on kitchen notice-boards.
Toilets “Free/Engaged” sliding signs have been installed outside each multi-use toilet (Bexhill) to ensure that it can be seen from outside the toilet whether or not it is vacant. Hand-sanitiser must be used before and after touching any toilet door and a paper towel should be used for hand-drying, to operate the WC-flush, to turn the tap on and to turn the tap off, before being disposed of.  Visitors should not be invited to use the toilets but where they request to do so their attention should be drawn to the staff instructions which will be displayed inside the bathroom. S. Instructions for working in each office will be published to each member of staff by email, website and on kitchen notice-boards.
S&V. Toilet usage instructions will be placed prominently inside the entrance to each bathroom.
In-coming and out-going post and client records Hand-sanitiser must be used before and after handling all in-coming and out-going post and client records.
When clients deliver books and records, etc. for booking in, they should be collected from reception as soon as delivered and booked in by the section in the normal way. The staff member should wear protective gloves and physical content should be kept to a minimum.
 N/A S: To be included in staff instructions
Off-site meetings No member of staff should place themselves in danger by attending a meeting away from the office where there is any reason to suspect that SD will not be observed. Meetings should be conducted via phone or video-conference where possible, but where this is impossible due to the nature of the client or the purpose of the meeting, it is the responsibility of the member of staff to ensure in advance of the meeting that SD will be observed, in the absence of which the meeting should not proceed. S: To be included in staff instructions  N/A S: To be included in staff instructions
Disregard of process by any member of staff To be monitored by line managers. Open communication promoted and confidentiality assured. If necessAll members of staff should feel confident that the processes put in place for their safety will be observed and enforced. A reporting process will be publicised whereby any non-compliance should be dealt with in the following way:
  • Where the member of staff is comfortable doing so they should raise the non-compliance with the relevant person;
  • Where not comfortable or the person repeatedly infringes, report should be made to Patrick Lee as “Covid Safety Champion”;
  • Patrick Lee will deal privately with the infringer but will involve the Board in the event of serious or repeated infringement.
 N/A S: Publication of process in email to all.
Effect on mental health and wellbeing of reintegration Any member of staff experiencing difficulties must seek help and guidance.  N/A To be monitored by line managers. Open communication promoted and confidentiality assured. If necessary escalation to HR.

 

Meeting Instructions for Clients and Staff

Remote Meetings
All meetings should be conducted remotely if possible, either by phone or video-conference. Video-conferencing is available to staff whether using AH equipment at their home or in the office. Some may also be able to access the programs on their own equipment. Where a physical meeting is unavoidable the following process must be strictly followed.

Pre-arranged Meetings
The date and time for the meeting should be fixed directly between the AH staff member and client to ensure that the meeting is strictly necessary, to discuss the agenda to ensure brevity, to agree the length of the meeting and to agree who is to attend. When booking a meeting room, the staff member will need to know how many people are attending and whether visitors live together or are observing social-distancing. Unplanned meetings may not be held, due to the inability to ensure safe practice and due to the reduced capacity of meeting rooms. Clients should be advised against visiting our premises without a pre-arranged appointment. When meetings are scheduled, they should have staggered start times so that arrivals do not overlap.

Preparation for Meetings
Please note that no-one may attend our premises within 7 days of a positive test for Covid-19, or within 7 days of the start of any symptoms as published on the GovUK website, or within 14 days of either of these applying to someone they live with. Everyone accessing the public areas of our premises is required to use hand-sanitiser before entering, which is available at the entrance to our reception areas.

Please Report to Reception
On entering the building please follow the arrows into reception and approach the reception desk. Please follow the arrows to the next floor-tape marker and if there is a queue please stay behind the floor-tape markers until the receptionist is free to welcome you. When speaking with a receptionist please stand as indicated and follow the receptionist’s instructions for depositing papers or having documents certified.

Follow the Receptionist’s Directions
If you are attending a pre-arranged meeting you will be directed to a meeting room. Visitors should please proceed directly to the room and sit in the seat(s) furthest from the door. The host staff member will be the last person to join the meeting and will sit in the seat nearest the door. If the allocated meeting room availability is delayed for any reason, or if you do not have an appointment you may be asked to sit in the waiting area until you receive further direction. No physical form of greeting will be permitted at any time during the meeting.

At the Meeting
Please do not move any chairs, which have been positioned to comply with social distancing. If your seat is not immediately adjacent to a table and you require assistance to be able to make notes, please ask the AH staff member who will enable this by providing suitable stationery.

At the End of the Meeting
The AH staff member should leave the room first and will direct the visitor(s) when it is clear for them to leave, observing any floor-tape or other markings.

Apologies for Temporary Measures
Please accept our apologies that while current restrictions apply we will be unable to offer refreshments during meetings, no physical greeting of any description will be appropriate and we request that our toilet facilities are used only if unavoidable. Your understanding is appreciated.

Instructions for Working at 20 Havelock Road

  1. Arrival: You should as far as possible arrive and depart separately to avoid unnecessary contact. The first person on site should relock the staff entrance front door and enter the key pad code, then leave the internal door propped open then wipe the door handle and keypad before going to their room. The staff front door must be kept locked at all times. Do not enter the office through the reception door, which will also be kept locked. A notice for visitors will be displayed on the reception door.
    Please use hand-sanitiser on entering the building. Specific guidance is given below on kitchens and bathrooms, but broadly the rule is that unless at your desk you should use hand-sanitiser before and after touching any piece of office or kitchen equipment. Protective gloves and face masks will not be provided but you may provide your own should you wish to use them, but please use hand-sanitiser as required whether wearing gloves or not. Please observe social-distancing to give any colleague in front of you time to enter the building before you do so.
  2. Staircases: The staircase is not wide enough for sharing and you must therefore apply Line of Sight judgement before ascending or descending any flight of stairs only when you can see that it is clear. Whether ascending or descending you must pause at each landing to ensure that the next flight is clear. If it isn’t, the person ascending has right of way, and it is for the person descending to back-track to a place where the person ascending can safely pass. Where available at higher levels a one way system will operate and you should follow the signs and arrows.
  3. Moving around: Please use a combination of Line of Sight and floor-tape guidance when moving around your floor. On entering your floor please stay on the side of the floor where you sit, and communicate with anyone approaching to maintain social distancing. Please do not enter the workspace of anyone else but instead deposit files, paperwork, etc. outside the door of the relevant room for collection by the staff member concerned.
  4. Visitors: Please read and observe the Meeting Instructions for Clients and Staff. Please deter any potential visitor from attending our premises if you reasonably can, by dealing with the client by phone or video-conference, or by email or post. If a physical meeting is unavoidable for technical or operational reasons, it is essential that you book a suitable meeting room or the boardroom, when the meeting is arranged. You will need to know who is attending to decide which room is appropriate. A booking system to schedule meetings is in place, please observe the capacities which comply with social distancing when booking a room. When attending the meeting, you should liaise with reception to establish that the visitors are in the meeting room before you join the meeting as last in and first out. At the end of the meeting check that the route to exit is clear and guide your visitors to the door, complying with social-distancing at all times. Please do not under any circumstances shake hands with any visitor or make physical contact in any other way
    After the Meeting: The host staff member should wipe down the table and chair-arms ready for the next meeting. Similarly, any reception chair should be wiped down by the receptionist after each use.
  5. Kitchens and Toilets: A ‘Free/Engaged’ sliding sign is outside each kitchen and bathroom. Please only enter if ‘Free’ is indicated and please change the sign on your entrance and departure. Please use hand-sanitiser before and after each visit and use only paper towels for drying, to be disposed of in the bin provided.
    Use of the kitchen should be kept to a minimum and you may not make drinks or handle food for anyone else. You should wash your allocated mug before preparing a drink and keep this with you. At the end of the day, place your mug in the dishwasher for an overnight wash. The last member of staff is responsible for putting the dishwasher on. Next morning only remove your mug for use during the new day. Wipe down all items handled in the kitchen, if someone is waiting call to them or change the sign to “Free”. Exit the kitchen through the outside door and return to the building at the corridor midpoint.
    The water coolers in the kitchen and on the upper floor should not be used and will be switched off. The water supply to the kitchen located cooler will be disconnected and the other cooler switched off and the bottle emptied. Please bring your own water bottle if required.

Instructions for Working at 28 Wilton Road

  1. Arrival: You should as far as possible arrive and depart separately to avoid unnecessary contact. The first person on site should relock the front door and enter the key pad code, then leave the internal door propped open then wipe the door handle and keypad before going to their room. The front door must be kept locked at all times, a notice for visitors must be attached to the door each day.
    Please use hand-sanitiser on entering the building. Specific guidance is given below on kitchens and bathrooms, but broadly the rule is that unless at your desk you should use hand-sanitiser before and after touching any piece of office or kitchen equipment. Protective gloves and face masks will not be provided but you may provide your own should you wish to use them, but please use hand-sanitiser as required whether wearing gloves or not. Please observe social-distancing to give any colleague in front of you time to enter the building before you do so.
  2. Staircases: The staircase is not wide enough for sharing and you must therefore apply Line of Sight judgement before ascending or descending any flight of stairs only when you can see that it is clear. Whether ascending or descending you must pause at each landing to ensure that the next flight is clear. If it isn’t, the person ascending has right of way, and it is for the person descending to back-track to a place where the person ascending can safely pass. A one way system will operate for the stairs from the ground floor and you should follow the signs and arrows.
  3. Moving around: Please use a combination of Line of Sight and floor-tape guidance when moving around your floor. On entering your floor please stay on the side of the floor where you sit, and communicate with anyone approaching to maintain social distancing. Please do not enter the workspace of anyone else but instead deposit files, paperwork, etc. outside the door of the relevant room for collection by the staff member concerned.
  4. Visitors: Please read and observe the Meeting Instructions for Clients and Staff. Please deter any potential visitor from attending our premises if you reasonably can, by dealing with the client by phone or video-conference, or by email or post. If a physical meeting is unavoidable for technical or operational reasons, it is essential that you book a suitable meeting room or the boardroom, when the meeting is arranged. You will need to know who is attending to decide which room is appropriate. A booking system to schedule meetings is in place, please observe the capacities which comply with social distancing when booking a room. When attending the meeting you should liaise with reception to establish that the visitors are in the meeting room before you join the meeting as last in and first out. At the end of the meeting check that the route to exit is clear and guide your visitors to the door, complying with social-distancing at all times. Please do not under any circumstances shake hands with any visitor or make physical contact in any other way.
  5. After the Meeting: The host staff member should wipe down the table and chair-arms ready for the next meeting. Similarly, any reception chair should be wiped down by the receptionist after each use.
  6. Kitchens and Toilets: A ‘Free/Engaged’ sliding sign is outside each kitchen and bathroom. Please only enter if ‘Free’ is indicated and please change the sign on your entrance and departure. Please use hand-sanitiser before and after each visit and use only paper towels for drying, to be disposed of in the bin provided.
    Use of the kitchen should be kept to a minimum and you may not make drinks or handle food for anyone else. You should wash your allocated mug before preparing a drink and keep this with you. At the end of the day, place your mug in the dishwasher for an overnight wash. The last member of staff is responsible for putting the dishwasher on. Next morning only remove your mug for use during the new day. Wipe down all items handled in the kitchen, if someone is waiting call to them or change the sign to “Free”. Exit the kitchen and observe the one way system in operation by following signs and arrows.
    The water cooler in the kitchen should not be used and will be disconnected/switched off. Please bring your own water bottle if required.

Instructions for Accessing Archived Files

Accessing the file archives should be kept to a minimum but if essential, you should place the selected files in an archive box for delivery to the relevant staff member. After handling files, you should ensure that you thoroughly wash and disinfect your hands before returning to your desk.

 

Please Read Before Entering

Visitor Instructions

PLEASE DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT

AN APPOINTMENT CAN BE MADE BY CALLING
01424 720222 for Hastings or 01424 730300 for Bexhill

  • Please do not enter our premises for any purpose if any of the following apply to you:
    you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 7 days;
  • you have suffered any Covid-19 symptoms in the last 7 days;
  • someone you live with has tested positive for Covid-19, or suffered symptoms, within the last 14 days; or
  • you have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and notified to self-isolate for 14 days.

Please use hand-sanitiser on entry to our premises, irrespective of whether you are wearing gloves.

Please follow the floor-markings, remaining behind each line until the next line is clear, until you reach the final floor-marking in front of the reception desk.

Please follow the instructions given by our receptionist who will direct you to a meeting room.

Please sit in the chair(s) furthest from the door, do not move the chairs and remain in the room until directed to leave by your host.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Ashdown Hurrey Chartered Accountants

Contact us

Email: advice@ashdownhurrey.co.uk

Hastings Office
Tel: 01424 720222
Fax: 01424 720888

Bexhill-on-Sea Office
Tel: 01424 730300
Fax: 01424 730086

We offer free initial consultations - to arrange a meeting or to have a chat over the telephone, please contact us.

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