Coronavirus (COVID-19) Return to Work Plan, Policy & Risk Assessment
(Incorporating the Return to Work Protocol)

June 2020

Employer Information

Employer Name   Nina Kati
Interior Design Feng Shui
Workplace Address   Co Waterford
Owner/Manager   Nina Kati
Covid-19 Compliance Officer Nina Kati
Covid-19 Employee Representative   n/a
Type of Service   Interior Design and Feng Shui
Number of Employees   1
Phone   086 812 6730
Email info@ninakati.ie

Covid-19 Policy Statement

Nina Kati Interior Design Feng Shui (known throughout this document as the Company) is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for myself and my clients, as far as is reasonably practicable. I plan to operate the business as normally as possible with some changes to working arrangements to safeguard everyone from the Coronavirus.

I have developed the following Covid-19 Response Plan, Policy and Risk Assessment. I, the owner, am responsible for the implementation of this plan. I will:

  • continue to monitor my Covid-19 response and amend this plan accordingly
  • provide up to date information to my customers on the Public Health advice issued by the HSE and Gov.ie
  • inform all clients and participants on my workshops of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and physical distancing requirements
  • collaborate with venue staff/workshop organisers to adapt any workshop location to facilitate physical distancing
  • keep a log of those I visit at home or work or those to whom I deliver workshops (via organisers) to enable contact tracing
  • intensify cleaning of my car in line with government advice

I am aware of both the Return to Work Protocol and the Covid-19 Response Plan prepared by the Health and Safety Authority and have taken both documents into account in preparing this policy. I undertake to communicate clearly with clients and those attending my workshops to establish a shared collaborative to preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. I will update my Safety Statement to include this document.

Changes to this Plan and Policy

This Return to Work Plan and Policy is subject to change as Government Regulations and guidance from HSE in Ireland may change as the pandemic progresses. If any major changes need to be made, I will communicate them to all relevant persons as soon as possible by email or other method.

Signed: Nina Kati, Owner                 Date: 23 June 2020

Important Definitions

What is the Coronavirus – Covid-19?

Covid-19 is a new illness that can affect the lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called Coronavirus and it can be fatal.

Symptoms of the virus

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) to appear which can be similar to the symptoms of cold or flu. Common symptoms of Coronavirus include:

  • a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above)
  • a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
  • shortness of breath or breathing difficulties

How the Virus is spread

Coronavirus (Covid-19) is spread in sneeze or cough droplets.  People can get the virus if they come into close contact with someone who has the virus and is coughing or sneezing, touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on and bring your unwashed hands to your face (eyes, nose or mouth).  Posters and other information re: Coronavirus, hand washing and physical distancing of 2 metres between persons, will be put up in any room I intend to use for a workshop.

Physical distancing

This means keeping a distance of at least 2 metres apart from all others.

Sneeze and Cough Etiquette

All persons affected are being advised to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve when they cough and sneeze.  They will be instructed to put used tissues into a bin and wash hands.

Good Respiratory Hygiene

I will explain good respiratory hygiene measures to limit the spread of the virus which are to: avoid touching the face, eyes, nose and mouth, cover coughs and sneezes with an elbow or a tissue and to dispose of tissues in a covered bin.

Handwashing

All persons affected will be encouraged to wash their hands before they meet me or as they enter the room for my workshop and especially after a range of activities covered in the Risk Assessment.

Pre-return to work questionnaire

This does not apply as I am the only employee.

General Health issues

Personnel living with “at risk groups” as defined by the HSE, must consider if there is a heightened risk from me visiting them or attending my workshops.

Travel 

I have eliminated all unnecessary travel out of Ireland and have replaced such travel with online meetings as appropriate.

Management Responsibilities

As the Owner I am responsible for preparing this Policy and for communicating it to all relevant persons.

Checklists

The Health and Safety Authority have produced 7 Checklists as follows and I will use those that apply to me. The checklists are available in a separate document and are as follows:

  • No. 1 – Planning and Preparing
  • No. 2 – Control Measures to Prevent Infection
  • No. 3 – COVID – 19 Induction
  • No. 4 – Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID – 19
  • No. 5 – Cleaning and Disinfection
  • No. 6 – Employees
  • No. 7 – Lead Employee Representative

Any person who has booked me to visit or anyone planning to attend my workshops who display Covid-19 symptoms should not do so – they should contact their GP, and stay at home and self-isolate.

Return to Work Plan & Arrangements

Risk Assessment

A detailed Risk Assessment has been prepared and is contained within this document. It will be communicated to any relevant persons and should be adhered to in all areas as it applies.

At Risk/Vulnerable Persons

If an at risk or vulnerable person is anxious about me visiting, then they should inform me of this in advance and I will re-arrange the meeting.  

Definition of very high-risk groups (extremely vulnerable) – from HSE

The list of people in very high-risk groups include people who:

  • are over 70 years of age – even if you are fit and well
  • have had an organ transplant
  • are undergoing active chemotherapy for cancer
  • are having radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • have cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • are having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • are having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, lung fibrosis, interstitial lung disease and severe COPD
  • have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  • are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppression therapies)
  • have a serious heart condition and you are pregnant

Definition of High-risk groups – from HSE

The list of people in high risk groups includes people who:

  • are over 60 years of age
  • have a learning disability
  • have a lung condition that is not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
  • have heart disease (such as heart failure)
  • have high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • have diabetes
  • have chronic kidney disease
  • have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
  • have a medical condition that can affect your breathing
  • have cancer
  • have a weak immune system (immunosuppressed)
  • have cerebrovascular disease
  • have a condition affecting your brain or nerves (such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, or cerebral palsy)
  • have a problem with your spleen or have had your spleen removed
  • have a condition that means you have a high risk of getting infections (such as HIV, lupus or scleroderma)
  • are taking medicine that can affect your immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
  • have obesity
  • are residents of nursing homes and other long-stay settings
  • are in specialist disability care and are over 50 years of age or have an underlying health problem.

Detailed Risk Assessment

Hazard
Identification
Coronavirus Covid-19
Risk of An outbreak of the virus within my business
Serious illness
Death  
People at Risk Myself
Clients
Workshop participants  
Assessment
of Risk
Medium to high
Responsibilities   Owner/Manager of the business

Control Measures to Prevent Infection

This section deals with the measures I am implementing to prevent or minimise the spread of Covid-19 in my business. Measures which must be complied with include:

See Checklist No. 2 ‘Control Measures to Prevent Infection’

Control of visitors or contractors to my home

I have excluded all visitors from my home where my business operates unless they are absolutely necessary, are making deliveries to me or are taking goods out.  If I do have any permitted visitors, I will ask them questions re: symptoms etc. (see Appendix 1 below).

All such visitors will be required to wash their hands as they enter my home and to maintain physical distancing while there. I am not permitting any exchange of documents, pens etc. with them.  They will be asked to bring their own tools and equipment, and I will not share anything with them. They will also be asked to clean down any equipment that they work on, touch or fit parts to after the job is finished.

Working from home

I already work from home, visit clients in their homes or their businesses, as well as deliver workshops at venues operated by others.  I hold as many meetings as possible online but visits to my clients are an integral part of my business.  I plan to clean down my desk daily with antiseptic wipes paying special attention to the keyboard and mouse.

How I travel to work

I use my own car and travel alone. I carry hand sanitiser with minimum 63% alcohol in my car and will sanitise my hands and put on a mask or visor before entering anyone’s home or premises. I plan to clean the touch points in my car regularly and they are:

Issues Involving Clients

Planning my visits to clients

All payments should be done by bank transfer where possible. Cash must be counted out prior to being placed in a sealed envelope and then given to me, and I will use disposable gloves when handling it.

Before visiting clients at their home or business premises I will ascertain the following:

After my visit I will sanitise my hands when I get back to my car and then remove my mask. Once home I will change my shoes to indoor footwear and will launder my clothing.

Shopping with clients

I will work with my clients to arrange the details of our shopping trips in terms of:

  • I will only carry 1-2 passengers and they must each wear a mask or visor and, when possible, I will endeavour to increase ventilation

Planning workshops at other venues

Before finalising a workshop, I will ascertain the following from the building manager:

Use of Personal Protective Equipment

I plan to wear gloves and a mask or visor when I am meeting clients.  The mask may be disposable or washable and will change it after every visit, and I will clean my visor using alcohol wipes and then put it into a sealable bag ready for the next visit.

If close work or contact of items is necessary with a client

If situations arise where I must move close to a client, for example to explain something, I will ask them to wear a mask and gloves. If clients touch any of my samples, folders, pictures etc. they will be wiped with an alcohol wipe before visiting another client.

Use of Clients’ Canteen Facilities

If I am visiting  a large company, I may use their canteen for tea/coffee or lunch providing:

  • they are observing physical distancing – having marks on the floor and where people queue
  • have a clear cleaning and disinfection protocol in place
  • are providing hand sanitiser at the entrance
  • have seating spread out to achieve physical distancing
  • are either using disposable cups and plates or all crockery and cutlery is put through a dishwasher after use
  • the catering staff are wearing appropriate PPE (masks, visor and gloves)
  • food is plated up by catering staff not by those eating

Use of Clients’ Toilets

If in a client’s home or business I will wipe the following surfaces before I use their toilet:  the door handle, flush button lever, toilet roll holder, soap dispenser, toilet seat etc. using my own antiseptic wipes which I will carry with me.  I will dry my hands with my own tissues when I am finished. I will remain at least 2 metres away from my client and others who may be in a public washroom.

Dealing with a Suspected Case of Covid-19 – myself

If I feel unwell, I will contact my doctor and await further instructions. I will stop working if symptomatic and will self-isolate.

Dealing with a Suspected Case of Covid-19 – at one of my workshops

Participants feeling unwell during one of my workshops are required to inform me and I will then inform the building manager.  I will then ask the building manager to escort them to their allocated Isolation Area, where they can contact their doctor, and then arrange for them to go home to self-isolate for 14 days.