Coronavirus (COVID-19) Practical Steps to Limit Infection

The COVID-19 Virus is part of the larger Coronavirus family which are responsible for causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS -CoV).

Common signs of infection include:

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death. Severe symptoms are more likely to affect people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic lung disease.

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public to moderate, however the risk of catching COVID-19 depends on where you live or where you have travelled recently. Risk of catching it within the workplace is considered low at this stage.

However, employers have a role to play in preventing the spread of the disease by taking sensible action to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as ensuring that workers have access to appropriate hygiene facilities, such as hot water, soap and suitable bins for used tissues, etc.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have advised that workers maintain good hygiene standards around the workplace.

The WHO website includes the following basic protective measures:

  • Wash your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand wash or with soap and water.

(This should be done for a minimum of 20 seconds. Roughly how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice in a row.)

  • Maintain a social distance – maintain at least 1m (3 feet distance) between yourself and anyone who is regularly coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene.

(Cough or sneeze into a clean tissue, dispose of tissue immediately into a suitable bin. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper forearm/elbow if necessary. Not into your hands. Always clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.)

  • Stay informed and follow the advice given by health care providers.

 Personal Precautions:
The National Health Service (NHS) has advised that most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places, and that self-isolation is only to be undertaken if the individual is advised to do so by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.

Emergency planning advice:

We advise that businesses follow good practice in emergency planning, preparedness and response by closely following the advice being offered by the UK Government, the NHS and ACAS by following the links below


Think about adopting the following steps:

  • Develop a response plan for if someone in the workplace becomes ill with suspected COVID-19. This should include the immediate response e.g. isolate the individual and contact the local health authority and also how you plan to identify persons who may be at risk without stigma or discrimination
  • Explore ways of remote working (teleworking) that will allow workers to continue their work from home
  • Develop a business continuity plan for an outbreak, which covers:
    • How your organisation will continue to function if workers, contractors and suppliers cannot come to your place of business
    • Communicate to workers and contractors about the plan and their role in it
    • Ensure the plan addresses mental health and social consequences of a case of COVID-19 in the workplace

Useful links

UK GOVERNMENT https://www.gov.uk

Latest UK.Gov information https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Coronavirus action plan  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

NHS https://www.nhs.uk

NHS COVID-19 Overview  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

NHS COVID-19 Common Questions https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/common-questions/

ACAS https://www.acas.org.uk/

ACAS Coronavirus: advice for employers and employees https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NTL%20March%202020&utm_content=NTL%20March%202020+CID_a337abeb5d76e5366836ea87874b6b0c&utm_source=Acas%20National%20Email%20Marketing%20Live&utm_term=handling%20coronavirus%20at%20work


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March 5, 2020 | Categories: Lighthouse News, News |
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