We will be re-opening our office on Tuesday 26th May 2020.  In line with our responsibilities to our staff and clients we have completed the following risk assessment: –

Health & Safety

There are risks in everyday life. No risk can be reduced to zero but prudent measures to combat known risks need to be taken.
Identifiable risks and actions to deal with risks:
(a) Work stations, including mouse, keyboard, tables, calculators, telephones, pens etc.
EH does not operate a hot desking arrangement. Staff have individual work stations and equipment but should use the anti-bacterial wipes to regularly clean down all items. Upon arrival at work all staff should wash their hands with soap and water and then wipe down their work stations. Hands should be washed regularly throughout the day. Do not share pens, Dictaphones or calculators/staplers etc.

(b) Door handles, including Reception door and staff entrances (x 2), filing cabinets, handling files and documents.  Door and drawer handles, including Reception door and staff entrances will be regularly wiped. So far as possible (weather and security permitting) the Reception door will be left open but the handles will be wiped down periodically with anti-bacterial wipes. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and ears.

(c) Contact with staff members.  Arrangements have been made for the EH staff to work in areas that are two meters apart but it is accepted that there are inevitably certain pinch points in the office such as corridors, stairs and the kitchen and staff have been reminded of their duty to socially distance and to allow others to pass safely and not to over-crowd the kitchen. We understand that there may be rare occasions when staff have to be working more closely together albeit for a limited period of time. Masks are available in the Post Room and staff are instructed to wear a mask and gloves where appropriate. Wash hands after handling documents delivered from third parties e.g. post, DX, client (by hand). When walking around the office, staff are again reminded of their duty to remain two meters away from colleague’s desks. Internal meetings can take place in either of the two Boardrooms which are large enough to accommodate meetings.

(d) Contact with clients:
(i) in the office

(ii) out of the office

(i) The two small meeting rooms will be out of action for meetings until further notice and can be utilised by staff to work quietly and privately but not to see clients. All staff should wear a mask when interviewing clients. Obviously there should be no handshakes and social distancing measures of two meters apart should be adhered to at all times. Masks should be kept securely and should be labelled with the staff members initials on the inside. Staff have already received instructions on how to fit masks. After the meeting the area should be wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes where appropriate and staff members should thoroughly wash their hands. Pens should not be shared.

Reception – Clients should be asked to sit two meters apart on either side of Reception. In the event of potential overcrowding one of the small meeting rooms can be used. The Reception desk and equipment will be wiped down regularly and at “shift” handover.

(ii) Where meetings have to take place out of the office then social distancing measures need to be adhered to and EH personnel should wear masks and gloves at all times. The gloves should then be put into the waste bin upon return to the office.

(e) Kitchen – cupboards, handles, crockery, cutlery, containers.  Care should be taken when handling all of these items whilst making refreshments and food and nothing should be left in the sink. Please wash it and return it to the cupboards or place it in the dishwasher. Hands should be thoroughly washed before leaving the kitchen.  Any client glasses/cups should be thoroughly washed after use. Small water bottles will be available in the Boardrooms to avoid clients using glasses.

(f) Pinch points within the office such as stairs, corridors, kitchen and generally passing in more confined spaces.  Please see above. Obviously care should be taken to socially distance at all times.

(g) Risks to Mental Health – The Practice recognises that COVID-19 and the lockdown has placed everybody under further pressure and is alert to these risks. Partners should monitor colleagues carefully and privately report any changes in behaviour in order that support can be offered as appropriate. Members of staff should also speak to a Partner if they feel they are suffering any adverse effects from COVID-19 and the Practice will offer appropriate support in a confidential environment.

(h) Displaying (non-exclusive) symptoms of COVID-19.  If you show any symptoms such as temperature, sore throat, cough, diarrhoea, loss of taste and smell or general flu like symptoms do not attend the office. Always cough into a tissue and dispose of it immediately. If you or anybody in your household displays symptoms you need to call your medical practitioner or NHS 111 and self- isolate for 14 days.

Author: Mark Edmondson CEO, Edmondson Hall Solicitors