Severn Waste Services and Mercia Waste Management

Severn Waste Services – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Procedure

Government advicePurpose

Severn Waste is committed to the health and safety of its employees. The Coronavirus has the potential to affect how employees go about their day to day life, including work and also to how the Company operates within the wider community. The government guidance is subject to change to reflect the nature of the spread and development of the threat. This document will be updated as advice is amended by government.

Scope

This guidance applies to all permanent and temporary employees of the Company, contractors, officers, consultants, casual workers, agency workers, and any other individuals working at the Company premises. References to Statutory Sick Pay and other company procedures, such as absence reporting would apply to permanent staff. 

Current Government Guidance

Current government guidance is to control the virus we must all be alert, this means

NHS test and trace service

On 28th May 2020 the government launched The NHS test and trace service which  forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector.

By following instructions to self-isolate, people who have had close recent contact with someone with coronavirus will be protecting their family, friends, colleagues and other people around them, and will play a direct role in stopping the spread of the virus.

Test & Trace - Part 1: for someone with symptoms of coronavirus

Test and Trace - Part 2: if you are contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

As a responsible employer we will continue to follow health and safety workplace guidance such as:

If an employee has been asked to self-isolate as part of the test and track service they will be entitled to their contractual sick pay or have the option to use paid leave days if they prefer.

Employees in self-isolation are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay for every day they are in isolation, as long as they meet the eligibility conditions.

The NHS test and trace service will provide a notification that can be used as evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate.

Test and Trace

Workplace outbreak

If multiple cases of coronavirus appear in a workplace, an outbreak control team from either the local authority or Public Health England will, if necessary, be assigned to help the employer manage the outbreak. Employers should seek advice from their local authority in the first instance.

Social Distancing

The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone and should be followed wherever possible. Workplaces need to avoid crowding and minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) between individuals wherever possible. The Company understand how important it is to work safely and support your workers’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace. We have put in numerous measures across the business to keep employees safe, it is important that they are adhered to.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

Critical Sector

The Waste Industry has been confirmed as a critical sector. However, where possible we would encourage employees to work from home, unless it is impossible for them to do so.

Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, are drivers or working within a facility.

For this purpose, letters have been issued to provide employees with proof of employment within the Waste industry, should the government enforce further restrictions on movement.

Hygiene Precautions

Current government guidance states that there is currently no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading Coronavirus

Any employees who are worried about symptoms should use the online NHS111 service (https://111.nhs.uk/) or call NHS 111. Government advice is not to go directly to your GP or other healthcare professional.

Signs and symptoms of Coronavirus

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

Self-Isolation

Testing is now available for essential workers, which will confirm if self-isolation is necessary.

Current Government advice is that in the absence of a test result, anyone who feels unwell with these symptoms, however mild should remain at home for 7 days please see attached

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
If an employee or a member of their household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. Usual absence procedure and contractual rules for SSP and Company Sick Pay will apply.

Coronavirus testing

Testing will be available for anyone who have coronavirus-like symptoms to see if they currently have the virus.

This means essential workers can find out whether they have the virus, and help them return to work if they test negative. Testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.

How to arrange a test

Essential workers who are self-isolating can book a coronavirus test directly at; www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Instructions on where and when to go for the test will be issued.

Waiting for results

If you develop symptoms, you may wish to alert the people with whom you have had close contact over the last 48 hours. You should tell them that you might have coronavirus but are waiting for a test result.

At this stage (until the test result is known), those people do not need to self-isolate, but they should take extra care in practising social distancing and good hygiene, like washing their hands regularly. They should also watch out for their own symptoms.

You may want to write down your recent close contacts now so that you have them to hand if you test positive.

The testing process

The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted) and aim to provide results within 48 hours for a swab test or 72 hours for a home testing kit.
Following testing

If the test result turns out to be negative, it is safe to return to work, as long as:

If the test result is positive, or someone in the household tests positive, the employee cannot return to work. They will need to continue to self-isolate. Read NHS advice about how long to self-isolate.

If the condition gets worse, or the individual does not get better after 7 days, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Working from home

Where possible, we will consider if an employee can work from home during this time.  Where no other agreement is made this time off work will be treated in accordance with our normal sickness absence policy and contractual sick pay rules will apply.

Stay at home guidance

Entering or returning to the UK

From 8th June 2020, there will be new rules in place for entering the UK because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The rules are for residents and visitors.
When these rules are in place, if an employee has been abroad and returns to the UK they will need to:

Usual contractual sick pay rules will apply for this self-isolating

If an employee becomes unwell at work

If an employee becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance.

They will need to book a coronavirus test directly at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they don’t have internet access. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.
Government advice is at present, that it is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home.

As further precautions while the employee is in the workplace when they become ill;

Cleaning/disinfection of shared equipment

Equipment that is used by other people for example PWS, radios, telephones, shared computer equipment should be cleaned each time after individual use with either a damp soapy cloth, antibacterial wipes (containing at least 60% alcohol) or anti-bacterial gel (containing at least 60% alcohol). Further guidance on cleaning regimes will sent to sites.

Vehicles should similarly be cleaned with each change of driver/crew (steering wheel, handbrakes, controls, door handles etc. In the situation where a confirmed case has been in the workplace, Severn Waste will take all advice from the PHE local Health Protection Team (HPT). If employees would like to take further measures in the meantime paper suits, gloves are available for those employees cleaning communal areas and bleach/disinfectant is readily available

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

Procedure for employees who suspect they may have Coronavirus or need to self-isolate

If an employee needs time off work to look after dependants

Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a 'dependant') in an unexpected event or emergency. This would apply to situations to do with Coronavirus. For example, if they have children they need to look after or arrange childcare for because their school has closed. This leave is unpaid.

The amount of time off an employee takes to look after someone must be reasonable for the situation. For example, they might take 2 days off to start with, and if more time is needed, they can book holiday.

If a dependant such as a partner, child or relative in the same household gets coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the household must self-isolate for 14 days and they should receive statutory sick pay as a minimum for this time.

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/time-off-work-to-look-after-someone

Travel

Employees may have pre-booked holidays, which will have been cancelled by your tour operator. Please speak to your manager regarding cancelling annual leave. Government advise that travel abroad is cancelled unless unavoidable. If you have to travel abroad please notify your manager. If you do need to travel abroad there will be a self-isolation period of 14 days when returning to UK.

Older employees or employees with underlying health problems

The government are advising those who are at increased risk of a more severe form of illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This would include employees who are over 70 or those under 70 with an underlying health condition, such as those instructed to get a flu jab (as an adult) each year on medical grounds.

Employees in this group are strongly advised to social distance at all times. Normal sick pay rules will apply for self-isolation.

Shielding

The government are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below), which puts them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) requiring admission to hospital, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

The NHS strongly advise these groups to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the date the letter is received or up to the end of June 2020, guidance will be updated before this time to advise on the next steps.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Anyone who has concerns about whether they should be classed as shielding due to underlying health complaints or age are advised to call their GP or NHS 111 for further guidance.

Employees are requested to provide a copy of the NHS shielding letter.

Family members who are shielding

If a member of the household is shielding, other members of the household are not required to adopt these protective shielding measures for themselves. They should do what they can to support shielding and they should stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home.

Meetings and employee gatherings

Face to face meetings should not take place unless absolutely necessary. Please use alternatives such as Microsoft Teams. If face to face is absolutely necessary then distance protocols should be put in place such as keeping approximately 2 metres distance between each person, no shaking hands, bodily contact or sharing of equipment such as telephones, pens or keyboards.

Movement between sites

Keep internal travel to a minimum and strictly follow the guidelines on hand washing upon arriving and leaving site, keeping distance and not sharing equipment unless absolutely necessary and ensuring it is cleaned each time.

Payment for self-Isolation

Usual absence procedure and contractual rules for SSP and Company Sick Pay will apply. Employees and workers must receive as a minimum, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them if they need to self-isolate from day one, because:

If someone has symptoms, they should apply for testing for themselves and their households and follow the self-isolation guidelines if they test positive.
Employees not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, are able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance. For those on a low income and already claiming Universal Credit, it is designed to automatically adjust depending on people’s earnings or other income.

Self-Isolation documentation

Employees will need to document any self-isolation periods. Self-isolation notes can be obtained from https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note. This can be emailed to the Company directly.  

Cleaning and disinfection guidance

Face Coverings

Severn Waste delivers essential public services in the Waste & Recycling sectors. This essential work means that most of our operational employees are classed as Key Workers. As a Key Worker it is not always possible to maintain the recommended social distancing of 2 metres due to the type of work we do.

Where social distancing isn’t possible there are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms.

A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context. Supplies of PPE, including FFP3 face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

It is important to note that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small, therefore face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact with others, 2 metre social distancing and increasing hand and surface washing. These measures remain the best ways of managing the coronavirus risk in the workplace.

Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law, including in the workplace. A face covering can be as simple as a scarf, snood or bandana that ties behind the head. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Severn Waste recognise that you may wish to wear a face covering when in a workplace environment where the recommended 2 metre social distancing cannot be achieved, or it is difficult to limit contact with others. To this end, we have secured a limited supply of masks that can be used as Face Coverings (but not to be used as PPE). An initial assessment of our operations has been undertaken to identify areas where this may be the case, and supplies of the masks have been allocated and issued to relevant sites as appropriate, and offered to relevant employees. Any queries regarding this allocation should be addressed to your Manager.

Usage of the allocated masks will be monitored, and further supplies will be allocated periodically (and as long as the limited supply permits). Any additional requests for supplies should be done via your Supervisor or Manager.

Please note that Severn Waste will support the use of face coverings safely for all employees who choose to wear them, regardless of their workplace environment. However, due to the limited supply we will only be able to offer masks to those identified in the initial assessment.

Employees not offered masks who wish to wear a face covering should source a proprietary face covering themselves. Should you be unable to source a proprietary face covering, you can make face-coverings at home and can find guidance on:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

When wearing a face covering please follow these simple rules:

1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it

2. Avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands

3. Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
4. Continue to wash your hands regularly
5. Change and wash your face covering at least daily
6. If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste
 
7. Practise social distancing wherever possible

Wearing a face covering

A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off and after use. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.

You should wash a face covering regularly (unless specifically designed for single use). It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.

Stayling COVID-19 Secure in 2020


Severn Waste Services
The Marina, Kings Road, Evesham
Worcestershire WR11 3XZ

Tel: 01386 443376
Fax: 01386 446757
Email: enquiries@severnwaste.co.uk

Mercia Waste Management
The Marina, Kings Road, Evesham
Worcestershire WR11 3XZ

Tel: 01386 443376
Fax: 01386 446757
Email: enquiries@severnwaste.co.uk

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