Severn Waste Services – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Procedure
Severn Waste is committed to the health and safety of its employees. The COVID-19 has affected all areas of society, from 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.
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
Since 19th July 2021, many of the COVID-19 legal restrictions have now been lifted. However, while the restrictions are being relaxed, the responsibility to comply will be down to the individual to manage. The current advice is that, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious, this means;
- Wash hands
- Cover Face
- Make Space
- Fresh air
Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness, However, if you have any of the symptoms above you must stay at home and arrange to have a PCR test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/to arrange a test.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
COVID-19 Testing – NHS PCR Test
Testing will be available via the NHS if;
- you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive
- you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace
- a GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test
- you’re taking part in a government pilot project
- you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive LFT result
- you’ve received an unclear result and were told to get a second test
- you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms
- you’re in the National Tactical Response Group
Arranging an NHS PCR test
Any individual can book a COVID-19 test directly at;
https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test Instructions on where and when to go for the test will then be issued.
If an individual is getting a test because they have symptoms, they must stay at home (self-isolate) until the test results are received.
Any close contacts must also self-isolate until the test result is known – unless they are exempt from self-isolation.
If the test result turns out to be negative, it is safe to return to work, as long as:
- The individual feels well enough
- They havent had a high temperature for 48 hours
Keep in mind that even if the test is negative for COVID-19, the symptoms could be another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they have recovered.
If the test result is positive, the employee cannot return to work. They will need to continue to self-isolate. Read NHS advice about how long to self-isolate.
NHS Test and Trace Service
- ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus and provides targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents.
- helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and, depending on their age and vaccination status, gives them advice on testing and other precautions they can take and/or notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.
The service will allow Public Health England to trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections and play a vital role in giving an early warning if the virus is increasing again, locally or nationally and contain the virus by reducing its spread.
Part 1: for someone with symptoms of COVID-19
- Self-isolate: as soon as you experience COVID-19 symptoms, medical advice is clear: you should self-isolate for at least 10 days, unless you get a negative PCR test. Your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days. You may also find this stay at home illustration useful.
- Anyone else in your household, unless they are exempt, should also self-isolate for 10 days from when you started having symptoms. This includes the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days. Other people in your household can get a test whether or not they have symptoms. Read further guidance on getting a free test.
- Test: get a free NHS test immediately to check if you have COVID-19 or call 119 if you have no internet access.
- Results: if you are notified by NHS Test and Trace that your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 10-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 10 days from when you started having symptoms unless they are exempt. Failure to self-isolate for the full time period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.
- If your test is negative you will no longer be required to self-isolate, though you may wish to do so if you still feel unwell and have symptoms similar to COVID-19. This also applies to any household members who were self-isolating.
- Share contacts: if you test positive for COVID-19, NHS Test and Trace will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of other people in your household and any other people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited.
Part 2: if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not exempt from self-isolation
- Alert: you will be alerted by NHS Test and Trace if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS Test and Trace website, which is normally the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other – but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do. Under-18s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue
- Self-isolate: you will be told to self-isolate until 10 full days after your last contact with the person who has tested positive. It’s really important to do this even if you do not feel unwell because you could still be infectious to others. Failure to self-isolate for the full time period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.
- Your household does not need to self-isolate with you if you do not have symptoms, but they should take extra care to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
- Take a PCR test: you are advised to take a PCR test after being identified as a contact, even if you do not have symptoms. You should also take a PCR test if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your self-isolation period. If your test is negative, you must still complete your self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet – this is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
- If your test is positive, you and other members of your household, unless they are exempt, must follow the rules in guidance and self-isolate for 10 days.
Exemptions from Self-Isolation for Close Contacts
You are not required to self-isolate if you are notified you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:
- you are fully vaccinated
- you are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
- you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
You are fully vaccinated 14 days after your final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine that was administered in the United Kingdom. This is to allow for an antibody response to develop. If you were fully vaccinated at the time you had close contact with a positive case, you will not be required to self-isolate.
NHS Test and Trace will contact you to:
- let you know that you have been identified as a contact
- check whether you are legally required to self-isolate
- provide you with advice
Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible.
You should not arrange to have a PCR test if you have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19, as it is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection.
Even if you are vaccinated, you can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If you are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 but you are not required to self-isolate, you can help protect others by following the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. In addition to getting a PCR test, you may also consider:
- limiting close contact with other people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
- wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and where you are unable to maintain social distancing
- limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
- taking part in regular Lateral Flow Testing
COVID-19 is a new risk that must be incorporated into workplace risk assessments. All employers must therefore carry out a new COVID-19 risk assessment. Severn Waste Services are confirmed as COVID-19 secure and display the certificate is on website. If any COVID-19 risk assessments are required please contact the relevant HSEQ Manager for the site.
The legal restrictions around social distancing measures have now been lifted. However, to reduce the risk of infection, avoid crowding and minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre between people wherever possible.
Please ensure that all existing workplace COVID-19 measures are followed at all times, including social distancing, following one way systems, hand washing and the adoption additional hygiene measures such as sanitising and cleaning down all equipment regularly.
Measures to limit Transmission and Infection in the workplace
With the introduction of the government’s guidelines on working safely during COVID-19 the Company has introduced various measures designed to limit the transmission and infection of COVID-19 in the workplace and therefore protect the health and safety of all employees. Temperature Screening and Lateral Flow testing allows employers to identify possible cases of COVID-19.
For further information on working safely during COVID-19 see government guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Temperature checks will be carried out based on a site-specific risk assessment, as fever is one of the known symptoms of an active COVID-19 infection and is easy to administer. The full procedure can be found within the Safe Systems of Work –163 Temperature Screening and the accompanying policy Employee Temperature Screening Policy.
Lateral Flow Testing
Lateral Flow Testing will be carried out based on a site-specific risk assessment, to identify positive asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace and therefore take measures to reduce transmission through self-isolation. The full procedure can be found within the Safe Systems of Work –175 Lateral Flow Testing and the accompanying lateral flow testing policy.
Current Government advice is that, anyone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, may have a possible COVID-19 infection and is waiting for a test result or feels unwell with these symptoms, however mild should remain at home for 10 days. Follow the guidance below and book a test if they haven’t already done so. Employees will be paid their usual contractual pay following a positive COVID-19 result for a maximum of 10 days.
If an employee or a member of their household have symptoms of COVID-19, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days, unless as close contacts, they are exempt from self-isolation. Usual absence procedure and contractual rules for SSP and Company Sick Pay will apply.
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 COVID-19 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 doctor, 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 COVID-19 infection.
Cleaning/Disinfection of Shared Equipment
Equipment that is used by other people for example PWS, radios, telephones, or 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).
Vehicles should similarly be cleaned with each change of driver/crew (steering wheel, handbrakes, controls, door handles etc. 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
Procedure For Employees Who Suspect They May Have COVID-19 Or Need to Self-Isolate
- Follow existing absence procedure and make a phone call at least one hour before work, it is important that employees call and speak to their supervisor or manager to be able to accurately give information on their case
- Notify absence by telephone, DO NOT COME TO SITE
- The employee should be advised to contact the online NHS Coronavirus service www.nhs.uk/coronavirus to notify symptoms and book a test
- Provide a self-isolation note https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note if the test is positive and self-isolation is necessary
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 COVID-19. 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 COVID-19 symptoms, everyone in the household must self-isolate for 10 days (unless exempt from self-isolation as a close contact) and they should receive statutory sick pay as a minimum for this time.
Entering Or Returning to The UK
What you must do when you arrive in England from abroad depends on where you have been in the last 10 days before you arrive.
People planning to travel to England should follow the guidance on entering the UK.
Find out which list the country you are travelling from is on and what you need to do.
Attending Meetings / Attending Other Sites
When attending sites or meetings, please ensure social distancing in the offices / enclosed areas can be maintained and that numbers remain manageable. When visiting other sites please keep socially distanced from others, this would apply to all areas including weighbridges, canteens, and HRC offices. If you are unable to keep at least a 1 metre gap, ensure that masks are worn and that areas are well ventilated.
The Government have advised that individuals should remain cautious and continue the use of face coverings in crowded areas, particularly inside, where distancing is not always possible or ventilation is not available. Also, in situations where individuals might come into contact with people they are not usually in contact with.
We believe masks offer a degree of protection from transmission and, with rates still high, we are asking that staff continue to wear face coverings where they feel necessary, when working in enclosed areas. Please continue to maintaining safe distances and ensuring good ventilation.
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, social distancing and increasing hand and surface washing. These measures remain the best ways of managing the coronavirus risk in the workplace.
Face coverings will be available for all colleagues and it will be personal choice to wear them while working outdoors, but to our colleagues who are in contact with the public, we would ask you are considerate to the concerns of others and wear a mask if necessary.
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, you could contaminate them with germs from 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
Payment for self-Isolation
Self-isolation with no positive COVID-19 test result for the employee
Usual absence procedure and contractual rules for SSP and Company Sick Pay will apply for self-isolation as a precaution. 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:
- they have COVID-19 symptoms, for example a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste
- someone in their household has COVID-19 symptoms and they are not exempt from self-isolation
- they've been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111
- they've been told to self-isolate by a government 'Test and Trace' service, because they've been in close contact with someone who tested positive and they have no exemption from self-isolation
Self-isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test result for the employee
Usual absence procedures will also apply, however employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be entitled to their usual contractual pay for 10 days while they are self-isolating and recovering from COVID-19. This will be subject to the necessary documentation being provided.
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.
Test and Trace Support Payment
Depending on personal circumstances an individual may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if they are required to stay at home and self-isolate. This payment is facilitated through the Local Authorities and they will need to be contacted directly.
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.