Covid-19 & Occupational H&S advisory note
Covid-19 is a serious community public health pandemic biological virus that impacts persons health (this applies in any setting currently).
Covid-19 is not an occupational work hazard risk for the majority of employees at UCC, say in situations where a person may be working with the live virus as a known biological agent research risk, or in a clinical setting, when working with known or suspected Covid-19 infected persons.
The safety of any person is not impacted by the Covid-19 virus per se (unless measures deployed should impact on existing safety precautions, safe egress in an emergency or emergency response.)
Each Head of Unit must update their Safety Statements to include for their area's Covid-19 operational plan and Covid-19 Risk assessment (see UCC /FA protocols for same) and also review and update their current Occupational H&S Risks Assessments to account for changed circumstances, where necessary/as appropriate and in the context of the:
- Current Government Covid-19 transitional requirements and
- impact on the work environment, including limited or reduced occupancy or
- any working alone arising in high risk activities or where team work is now being discontinued – where it may have been a specified OH&S control measure e.g. manual handling team lifting
- impact on health due to shared use of personal equipment such as air hoods, gloves, coveralls, aprons or boots
- impact due to forced air movement systems, in particular those that recirculate air toward persons and not away or which are designed to protect a product from contamination e.g. air curtains at entrances to buildings or to high sterile environments e.g. clean rooms
- impact on occupational health or safety arising from measures taken in response to Covid-19 including from increased use of PPE and/or face coverings or face masks
- ability to deal with an incident/emergency, including absence of occupational first aid responders or fire marshals or chemical spill responders
- Impact on premises and local legionella controls, with hot and cold water systems or dead legs including disinfectant and flushing regimes with stagnant stored water
- Remote working Arrangements within Schools and departments including RA of remote working and UCC hot-desking arrangements.
Footnote I: Covid-19 virus work resumption planning and operational measures specifically deployed by the University/FA/School, Department Management or PIs should not result in an increase in any OH&S risk or a lessening in collective or individual risk controls leading to an negative impact on existing safety precautions, safe egress in an emergency or emergency response. Shared use PPE must also be avoided.
Footnote II: The UCC Risk Assessment SOP and Risk Assessment topic and activity forms generally apply to wherever work is undertaken (including remote working locations/arrangements). Such places of work should be assessed using the standard Risk Assessment forms provided commencing with the Basic Hazard Spotting Exercise and Risk Reconciliation (19.10), the General Workplace Safety Checklist (19.3.1) and the VDSE Risk Assessment 2020 (19.3.4) in particular.
Revised Safety Statement Templates
Update for UCC users:
Current master template revisions are as per the date indicated on each sub-document and document link within Volumes 1-4 (note: various dates apply).
Several sections have been updated in relation to changes in SHWW Regulations/H.S.A. guidance including Covid-19 and introduction of an e-accident and dangerous occurrence reporting system and renewal of the University safety Policy.
In cases of new sections or sections with content revision, the year of revision is generally included in both the download link and within the associated document title name (e.g. Doc XYX Year). This allows users and department management to quickly identify what they will need to review and change out in their School/Department Safety Statement and incorporate into the operation of their local safety management systems.
Note: Further upgrading of Volume 1, 2 and 3 content is on-going in-line with changes in H.S.A. guidance/advice, changes in OH&S safety law and UCC organisational changes. Updates are ongoing and will be made as and when Health & Safety Office resources and time allows.
Users should keep this section under review and always utilise the most current documents as the base content within their School/Department Safety Statements and risk assessments. As of Q2 2022 updates will also be made available to Heads of Functions/nominees via FA Office 365 accident report share point subfolders.
- Health and Safety Office May 2022
Dept. Safety Statement Template - 3 models
There are three (3) template model types available: Humanities (H), Admin Offices only (H-A) or Applied Scientific and Service Depts. (S) -depending on the scale and type of School/departmental activities.
Model (S) is the most comprehensive in scope. Each model contains individual downloadable documents which school and department management must efficiently adapt and utilise to populate and keep their local safety statements and risk assessments up to date.
The web preface to the S, H and H-A models contains a statement that clarifies that ‘Schools Departments must alter /reset the template dates and revision numbers to reflect their own document generation and revision history.’’ This is also reflected in the relevant word document dealing with revisions etc.
The content of Model (H), which is necessarily more limited in scope, is contained as standard content within Model (S). Model (H-A) added in December 2015 is a subset of H and is focused toward ADMIN ONLY OFFICES
Office Administration only departments may only need to use 70% of the H model. (Hence the reduced content H-A Model) - In circumstances where they have firstly ascertained that their staff do not undertake work activities such as:
Organising of events or conferences either on or off Campus; organising field work or walking tours; supervision of students; student placements; engagement of contractors to maintain equipment; use of vehicles for work, organising deliveries by large vehicles, use of noise generating equipment etc.