COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy and Arrangements
Updated 19 July 2021
The Safety and Wellbeing of all staff, students, visitors and contractors at Imperial College London is of paramount importance. This COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy aims to set the College expectations with regards to working arrangements during the pandemic, so together, we protect our community.
The College has adopted a phased return to campus approach, which is managed at Faculty and Departmental level. As everyone gradually returns to Campus, the College has implemented the following measures to support our health and reduce the spread of the virus during this pandemic:
- Everyone is expected to wear a face covering indoors. This applies to most indoor settings on campus, with some local exceptions and unless you are exempt. You need to wear a face covering indoors:
- If you are moving around in a building, including in halls of residence
- If you are working in close proximity (less than 2 metres) of colleagues
- If the ventilation within the building is poor.
- Buildings have been inspected and statutory checks and maintenance have been completed, including fire safety. Laboratory areas have been inspected by Departments in accordance with the Laboratory/Workshop reopening checklist.
- Return to campus guidance has been developed and a COVID-19 Risk Assessment template has been completed by Departments and Teams returning to Campus. Departments will review and amend their risk assessments to reflect changes due to increased activity and changes to College guidance.
- Staff and students returning to Campus will receive induction training by their department, so they are aware of new procedures and controls.
- Sensor operated hand sanitisers have been placed at the entrance points of each of the buildings and campuses. This includes the halls of residences.
- The cleaning schedule across College has been increased and is focused on the cleaning of communal areas and common “touch points” such as door handles and lift calling points.
- To help with the flow of persons in and out of buildings, and where safe to do so, the use of one access and one exit door has been defined and clearly sign-posted. Where this is not feasible, including where the walking-routes become complex to follow, staff, students and visitors will be instructed to walk on the left side of their path, whether corridors or stairs. Please adhere to the signage rules.
- The use of lifts should be prioritised to those who are less able to use the stairs, and those who are carrying large or heavy loads. Please be considerate. When the size of the lift allows for more than one person to make use of it, clear markings have been placed on the lift floor. Please respect them.
- Cleaning material is available within shared areas e.g. kitchens, so you can clean touch points before and after use. Please use only what you need.
- No alterations shall be made to the fabric or the structure of the building, including doors, without consulting the Estates Operations Team. It is essential that we don’t compromise current safety controls and arrangements, and that we maintain our inclusive environment.
It must not be forgotten that all College health and safety policies and codes of practice must still be followed. Adherence to controls defined in risk assessments, including the use of respiratory protective equipment where required, remains unchanged and binding.
We all have a role to play in protecting our community. The College expects everyone to adhere to the contents of this Policy:
Stay at home if:
- You are showing any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 (new, continuous cough; high temperature; loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. Report your symptoms to the CCT-Hub
- You have received a positive COVID test result; report the test result to the CCT-Hub
Contact your line manager and human resources representative if you want to discuss your personal circumstances or any health concern regarding either working from home or working on Campus.
If you are working from one of the campuses
We need your support to implement good infection control. It is essential that you:
- Wear a face covering indoors, particularly when walking around. This still applies to most indoor settings on campus, with some local exceptions and unless you are exempt. Some of us can be infected and show no symptoms, so we can pass the virus on without knowing it; the use of face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease. Face to face conversation in enclosed areas is especially high-risk.
Implement good hygiene practices
- Avoid shaking hands with colleagues when meeting and greeting them- even if you have had a COVID vaccine. Stagger breaks and lunchtimes. Stick to your cohort when these have been defined. Remember that many transmissions are thought to occur from people who feel and appear healthy, and those vaccinated are able to transmit the virus.
- Take part in the COVID vaccination programme, as this offers some protection against the virus and may reduce the severity of the infection.
- Observe good respiratory etiquette- Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow. Dispose of the tissue into a bin immediately and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands regularly, particularly on arrival at Campus, when moving from one working space to another, and after taking breaks. COVID-19 spreads from person to person via droplets of infected fluid. These are passed on via touch, direct hand to hand contact or from contaminated surfaces, or when someone standing close to an infected person breathes in droplets or aerosols that have been coughed or sneezed into the air. One of the most important ways to prevent the spread of the virus is to wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap. If hand wash facilities are not available, use hand gel sanitiser and then wash your hands at the earliest opportunity.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth and eyes to prevent contamination from your hands. Disposable gloves should only be worn in laboratory settings or other areas where they have been deemed necessary by risk assessment e.g. when providing first aid. Use of gloves does not prevent the transmission of the virus and may give a false sense of security.
- Wipe down equipment within workspaces, at the beginning and end of a shift/work session, or if space/equipment is shared between users. refer to the Return to campus guidance for further details.
- A COVID-19 risk assessment has been developed for each department. Please adhere to the new procedures and corresponding controls.
If you develop the symptoms of COVID-19 while on Campus
- If you develop the symptoms of COVID-19 while on Campus, inform your line manager and go home. Use the same mode of transport you used on your inward journey to get home. If it is not safe for you to do so, discuss with your line manager alternative options e.g. walking, use of a taxi or bicycle. Report your symptoms to the CCT- Hub so contact tracing can be conducted.
- Wear a face covering during your time at the College and during your travel. The affected work area should be deep cleaned or secured for 72 hours and then cleaned as normal. All adjacent corridors and areas will be cleaned as normal.
- Leave shared facilities like kitchens, showers and toilets in the same state you would like to find them. Please be mindful and respectful of others.
When visiting and/or spending time at catering outlets and cafes, please be mindful of others. Ensure that you:
- Wear a face covering when transiting around catering space. Once you are seated, you can remove the face covering if you are eating or drinking. Sanitise your hands before and after you remove or replace your face covering. This is to ensure your hands are free from pathogens and you play your part in reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
Providing care for others
- If you are a first aider or if you are in halls of residences, providing support to students who are self-isolating (quarantined, showing symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19), you will be provided with single-use surgical masks, plastic aprons, and a reusable face visor. You must wear all these when attending someone who feels unwell or when providing support to the isolating students.
- If you are providing care to early years children, there will be a designated room for isolating children displaying COVID-19 symptoms while waiting for their parents’/carers’ arrival. While you are caring for the child in isolation, wear a reusable face visor. The use of face coverings and the use of masks is not recommended when working with early years children.
Managing Visitors and contractors
- Contractors access to buildings should be restricted and they must be inducted in and adhere to local infection control procedures and safety arrangements. This could be achieved through the permit to work process.
- Ensure you have recorded contact details of all visitors to your areas, in case they need to be notified for contact tracing purposes.
- For companies who regularly attend College premises e.g. contractors, request and review their health and safety policy/arrangements /RAMS (risk assessment and method statement), including those related to COVID-19.
- Provide welfare access to all delivery drivers
If you have any concerns about your own safety or observe poor safety practices, please contact us at Safety Department and we will investigate your concerns in confidence.
The measures necessary to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 infection rely on everyone in the College taking responsibility for their actions and behaviours. An open and collaborative approach is encouraged, where any issue can be openly discussed and addressed.
This Policy has been developed in accordance with current Government guidance and it is subject to change as Government policy evolves.