COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Business Continuity

Updated 14 September 2021

Staying Covid-19 Secure in 2020 COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Business Continuity

The Materials Processing Institute recognises that our employees and their families, as well as our clients, suppliers and partners will be worried about the impact of COVID-19. This page outlines the risk assessment and key activities we are undertaking to minimise disruption to our normal commercial activities and to protect and support our employees and the wider community.

This Risk Assessment is continually reviewed and will be updated in response to the changing nature of the risk and in line with the latest Government advice.

The Materials Processing Institute’s COVID-19 response began in February 2020, based on observation of activity in other countries, particularly the Far East.  Throughout the crisis, the Institute has remained focussed on our objectives to:

  1. Keep all staff, visitors and their families safe and well.
  2. Continue the operation of the Institute, in so far as is possible.
  3. Avoid any detrimental impact on the income of colleagues.

Immediate action was taken to protect colleagues and their families as follows:

  • Anyone in the vulnerable group, or anyone who lives with, or cares for someone in the vulnerable group worked from home immediately. Where such people were unable to work from home they were furloughed on full pay.
  • All other staff to work from home where possible.
  • Recognising that not all staff can work from home, management controls were put in place to ensure social distancing at all times. In areas where social distancing is not possible, due to the nature of the work all staff in those areas have been furloughed on full pay.

As is usual in the Institute, all of these actions have been taken in full consultation with the staff, trade union and directly elected staff director on the Institute board. There is a COVID-19 planning group, which meets regularly. It is chaired by the CEO and includes personnel from key functions, including the trade unions and directly elected staff director. The minutes of this group are detailed and are shared with colleagues and external stakeholders. Where best practice is identified this is shared with the SME tenants at the Institute campus.

Actions have also been taken to support the national effort. We set up a hand sanitiser manufacturing facility in one of our laboratories, which at the height of the pandemic supplied sanitiser free of charge to all of the Marie Curie nurses between York and Scotland. We also registered for the government scheme to manufacture ventilator components. All of our colleagues have been asked to be aware of people in our own community who may be self-isolating for protection and be prepared to offer help and support.

Starting on 2nd August 2021, various control measures have been gradually withdrawn, starting with sanitising measures, then masks, social distancing and finally the requirement to work from home. As of 14th September, this process is now complete. Some minor residual issues remain, particularly around business travel and incident control. They are recorded here.

Throughout the pandemic the support and cooperation of colleagues here at the Institute has been remarkable, as we worked together as a community to protect one another and keep the business fully operational. As a community we have emerged from the pandemic largely unscathed and great credit is due to the members of the COVID-19 planning group for the diligent work over the last 18 months, as well as our wider colleagues who have unfailingly complied with the control measures.

I would like to personally thank all involved and express my gratitude that we, as a community have been so fortunate, notwithstanding the personal tragedies that have affected so many people during the pandemic.

Key Messages

The most important immediate ongoing measures to be taken by all people are:

  • Ventilate spaces as much as possible, or meet outdoors.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.  Put used tissues in the bin straight away.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Further information and government advice can be found here.

Risks and Control Measures

Risk Control Measure
Protection of Vulnerable Staff

People who are clinically vulnerable due to a compromised immune system are to flag this to their manager, so that individual risk assessments can be made on a task by task basis.

Control of Incidents

Where an employee, or visitor to the Institute becomes a confirmed case of COVID-19, the management of the Institute will follow the guidance of the Health Protection Team, with regard to risk assessment, cleaning communal areas and colleagues who may have worked in close proximity.

Anyone who develops a persistent cough, or fever they should go home and arrange for a COVID-19 test as per government guidelines.  If the test is positive, then they will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the date that symptoms started.  Such colleagues may use this time to work from home, if they are well enough to do so and if this is possible in their role.  If this is not possible then normal sickness arrangements apply.

If a colleague becomes ill whilst at work and symptoms are minor, they should:

  • Inform their manager, preferably by using their own ‘phone.
  • Go home and enter self-isolation as outlined above.
  • Their manager should determine which areas will require disinfectant and cleaning.

Visitors who come into contact with someone at the Institute who is then infected within two weeks of the visit, to be contacted and informed.

Contractors are also expected to report to the Institute and incident of one of their employees who has attended the campus, subsequently falling ill with COVID-19 symptoms, or testing positive for COVID-19, within the 14-day period.

If a colleague becomes ill whilst at work and the symptoms are more serious, they should

  • Move immediately to the medical room.
  • Call 111, preferably by using their own ‘phone.
  • Inform their manager and reception, preferably by using their own ‘phone
  • If they need to use the toilet, they should use the toilet adjacent to the medical room.
  • Reception to ensure that the toilet adjacent to the medical room is not used by any other colleagues, or visitors during this period.
  • All tissues to be disposed of in the clinical waste bin in the medical room.