COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy and Arrangements
Updated 21 October 2020
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.
We are prioritising both research and teaching on campus. Your Head of Department will contact you if you are needed on campus to support these activities, otherwise, staff should continue to work from home.
The College has adopted a phased return to work approach, which is managed at Faculty and Departmental level. This is commencing with some limited access being permitted for researchers that need access to onsite experimental facilities.
Measures implemented by the College
Wearing a face covering is essential in most locations on our campuses, including in teaching spaces, cafes and libraries. If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, please visit the Hidden Disabilities page to find out more information.
College Policy is to maintain two-metre social distance unless this is not possible or practical. If a one-metre plus social distance is adopted, additional mitigation controls must be implemented, which may include:
- Use of face coverings and/or face visors
- Increased cleaning of desks, chairs and other relevant surfaces, equipment, etc.
- Reducing the duration of activities, keep them as short as practicable
- 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.
- Perspex screens are being installed at key points that require face to face interaction with others, such as payment points at cafés, building receptions and information points. Floor markings have been added to these points to facilitate the 2m social distancing requirements.
- 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 will be prioritised to those who are less able to use the stairs, and those who are carrying large or heavy loads. Please be considerate. Most of the lifts will be indicated as single use. 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.
- To prevent bottlenecks and help with cleaning and ventilation of rooms, allow a time lapse of at least 30 minutes, between room occupation by different cohorts e.g. teaching rooms.
- 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.
Return to campus guidance
- [PFD, 225KB] has been developed and a COVID-19 Risk Assessment [Word, 119KB] 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.
- Imperial's Code of Conduct sets out the behaviours everyone should follow on all College premises to reduce the spread of COVID-19. You must follow this Code alongside any other health and safety information provided by the College.
- Single issue welcome packs have been produced and are provided to both staff and students. The pack contains three re-usable face coverings, hand-gel sanitiser and wipes.
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 can work from home and your presence on Campus is not essential.
- 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.
- You live with or have been in close contact (within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with someone who has the symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19. You must self-isolate for 14 days from when the person you live with or have been in contact with started displaying the symptoms.
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. A COVID-19 risk assessment has been developed for each department. Please adhere to the new procedures and corresponding controls.
It is essential that you adhere to the following:
- Wearing a face covering is essential in most locations on our campuses, including in teaching spaces, cafes and libraries.
- College Policy is to maintain a two-metre social distance where possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Implement good hygiene practices
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, particularly on arrival at Campus, when moving from one working space to another, and after taking breaks.
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow. Dispose of the tissue into a bin immediately and wash your hands.
- 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 Work Guidance [PFD, 225KB] for further details.
- 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.
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. 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. Please follow the guidance that is set out on the contact tracing pages of the website.
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
- Only essential visitors such as contractors and service engineers should be allowed on site.
- Visitor 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.
The measures necessary to minimise 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.