COVID-19 secure statement 

Salford City Council statement in relation to government guidance issued on 11 May 2020

As an employer, Salford City Council has a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety as outlined in the Health and Safety Policy. This means we need to think about the risks faced by workers and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising that you cannot eliminate the risk of COVID-19. However, health and safety is everyone’s responsibility and, in line with our organisational values, everyone must take personal responsibility to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19 as part of their role.

Salford City Council response to the government’s guidance and their five key points:

  • Work from home if you can

A clear instruction has been given that all employees who are able to work at home should and that they must continue do so, we do not expect this position to change in the medium term. We have made available a wide range of guidance and support for employees working at home through the employee intranet – in terms of physical, financial, mental and social wellbeing.

  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with workers or Trade Unions

Our employees who are carrying out essential roles in our communities have been following government guidance on safe working practices since lockdown commenced. To support this work, we have developed a four-tier system for assessing risk in relation to COVID-19 which should sit alongside existing policy and procedures for health and safety at work:

  1. A set of general guidance and suggested control measures across a range of settings where work is taking place - in residents’ homes or businesses, on sites or in open spaces and other work which is needed outside employees’ homes. This general guidance will be published on the council’s website.
  2. A service specific risk assessment for COVID-19 (in addition to usual safe working procedures and service risk assessments) which all frontline services should complete and implement further specific controls as required to keep employees safe. These specific assessments will be developed within teams advised by Public Health and Health and Safety colleagues, and a template is available on the council’s website.
  3. An individual risk assessment for employees with underlying health conditions or additional risk factors.
  4. A dynamic risk assessment (not documentary) should be carried out by the employee on reaching their place of work to ensure it is safe for them to continue with the task they need to complete.

These have been agreed with service managers and will be developed further in consultation with our trade union colleagues to ensure our employees continue to be protected by the safe working practices we have deployed from the beginning of the lockdown period.

  • Maintain two metre social distancing where possible

All employees have been advised to maintain a two-metre distance from colleagues and members of the public and are regularly reminded to do so.

  • Where people cannot be two-metres apart, manage transmission risk

In these cases, shift patterns will be changed, adjustments made to working practices and procedures and where appropriate PPE has been issued to colleagues to minimise the potential risk of transmission.

  • Reinforce cleaning processes

We have instructed employees to clean hard surfaces they come into contact with during their day to day work (whether this be in vehicles or on site), to reduce the sharing of equipment (where practicable) and also provided instructions as to what is required in terms of decontamination in the event that a co-worker develops symptoms of COVID-19. Handwashing as a method of minimising transmission has been reinforced with all colleagues through the Chief Executive’s regular updates to employees.

Settings highlighted by the government in this guidance which relate to the council’s operations:

In relation to food outlets offering takeaway or delivery, the council’s outlets at the Deli Delicious and at Buile Hill and associated outlets remain closed for trading at the current time. Food preparation continues to take place within residential settings and schools as needed in line with the general guidance and any service specific risk assessments.

For the major part, offices and call centres are not in use as these activities are taking place remotely and we expect this situation to continue for the medium term. There will be a small number of people working from offices to ensure essential operations with social distancing applied. Our guidance and risk assessments will develop and change as the situation develops to ensure that when we are asking people to return to offices that we have the appropriate measures in place to make this as safe as possible.

We have taken the first steps in developing a set of guidance and risk assessments to assist employees in the workplace. However, we recognise that those carrying out the work are often best placed to identify the risks and potential solutions. If there are any issues these should be raised in the first instance with the line manager who can contact the corporate health and safety team for further guidance. As a responsible employer, we will work with constructively to address any concerns jointly with staff and the joint trade unions.

This follows government guidance to get people safely back to work.

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