Health and Safety Risk Assessment



This risk assessment has been conducted to supplement the company’s existing health and safety measures. In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we augmented our usual Health and Safety procedures to further protect our colleagues, clients, wider circle of contacts and, ultimately, the general population.
We have continued to follow Government advice and have adopted sensible policies and procedures which we have strictly adhered to.  
We are sole occupants of our building, which gives us full control of risk management processes and procedures.
From the outset we have taken seriously the risk posed by this pandemic.  Our priorities have always been to:
a)    keep everyone safe; and
b)    keep the business trading.  
We continued to provide legal advice and representation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our investment in IT and remote working technology enabled us to continue to provide a full range of services.   In March 2020 we swiftly implemented a system of home working, with many of our staff members working from home, either on a full or part-time basis.  As key workers, we maintained a skeleton staff in the office to provide support to home-workers and perform the work which could not be carried out from home.  
This risk assessment has been revisited and revised on a regular basis throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to take account of updated Government rules and advice.
All coronavirus restrictions have now been lifted in England.  In response, we have reviewed and updated the measures we have in place.
We still encourage vigilance in the office and encourage our staff to make informed decisions and act carefully and proportionately to manage the risks to themselves and others.  
If at any time you have concerns about our Health and Safety processes and procedures, please contact Carolyne Browne, Health and Safety Officer, on 01827 317054 or email her at 
1.    General – We expect all staff members to abide by any further guidance that the Government may issue.
2.    Hygiene – We expect all staff members to maintain high standards of hygiene.   Regular hand washing and sanitising is encouraged.  Staff members should cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.    
3.    Hand Sanitiser –Hand sanitiser is available for use at the entrances to the building, and throughout the office.  All staff are encouraged to sanitise their hands on a regular basis.  

4.    Pens – Staff members should avoid sharing pens to minimise the risk of cross contamination (some people put pens in their mouth.)  If a staff member is witnessing a document for a client, please avoid sharing pens, wherever possible. Ample supplies of spare pens are available.

5.    Social Distancing - Although social distancing is no longer a legal requirement, staff members should continue to consider the risk of close contact with others, particularly if they are clinically vulnerable.  Our office is large, modern, and open plan.  There is no need to be in close contact with other people if staff members don’t wish to.  

6.    Seating of staff within the office. Wherever possible, a 2m distance between desks will be maintained. Where this is not possible, a 1m plus distance will be maintained.  Our seating plan incorporates corridors for movement within the office, so please do not reconfigure desks without speaking to either a Director or the Health and Safety Officer.  

7.    Toilets – Two people are now allowed in the toilet block at the same time. Ladies should continue to use the downstairs toilet and gents should continue to use the upstairs toilet.  The downstairs disabled toilet can be used by all members of staff.    

8.    Kitchen – The kitchen can now be used as normal.  It is no longer restricted to one person at a time.  However, all members of staff should be respectful of their colleagues and maintain a reasonable distance where possible and/or where requested.  Tea towels are now back in use.  

9.    Breakout Room - If staff members choose to eat lunch in the breakout room (or garden), they should be respectful of others and maintain social distancing, if requested.  Staff members can continue to eat at their desk if they prefer.

10.    Masks – Although there is no longer a requirement to wear a facemask, any staff member who wishes to wear one in the office should do so.  Staff members should be respectful and wear a face mask if they are in close contact with a colleague who requests this.    
11.    Visitors to our premises (clients, contractors etc) – Reception is now open.  Wherever possible, visitors will be shown straight into a meeting room when they arrive at reception.  All members of staff are asked to book meeting rooms through reception and to keep to the allocated time so that we keep the number of people waiting in reception to a minimum.  There is no requirement to wear a facemask in meetings with visitors; however, staff members are encouraged to wear one if any visitor requests this.  Any staff member who prefers to wear a facemask when meeting with visitors should do so.  Outside benches may be used to facilitate the signing and witnessing of documents if clients prefer this rather than coming inside the office.  
12.    Personal Protective Equipment - We will maintain a supply of non-surgical gloves, masks, visors, hand sanitiser and cleaning equipment for use by our team.

13.    Any staff member who has Covid-19 (i.e. has had a positive lateral flow test result) must contact the Health & Safety Officer immediately and should work from home if they are well enough to do so for at least five days (which is when individuals are deemed to be most infectious) but, ideally, until they get a negative lateral flow test result.     
14.    Any staff member who suspects they may have Covid-19 (i.e. is displaying symptoms but has not had a positive lateral flow test) must contact the Health & Safety Officer immediately and should work from home if they are well enough to do so for at least five days (which is when individuals are deemed to be most infectious) but, in any case, until their symptoms subside.    
15.    Any staff member who is not well enough to work from home should follow the normal absence reporting procedure.
16.    Any member of staff who lives with someone, or has been in close contact with someone, who has Covid-19, should contact the Health and Safety Officer immediately.  Where possible, they will have the option to work from home for a few days if they would prefer to do so.
17.    Any member of staff who is not set up to work from home, or cannot carry out their job role from home, should contact the Health and Safety Officer for advice.
18.    Office numbers - We will maintain a hybrid working arrangement for appropriate staff members with a mixture of home and office working.  This is being managed at departmental level.  
19.    Desk hygiene - Our cleaners will clean all desks and office equipment on a regular basis; however, anyone who is worried about this is encouraged to sanitise their desk area themselves.   

20.    Communication - We will update all staff if there are any changes to these guidelines

21.    Review- this risk assessment will be reviewed annually.  It will be reviewed more frequently if there are any changes to the Government advice. 

Carolyne Browne 18/05/2022