The CCT’s priority during this crisis continues to be to protect our volunteers and staff from the risks imposed by Coronavirus. It is also essential that we do everything that we can to follow the letter, and the spirit, of Government direction and so help to protect society as a whole.
The Prime Minister updated the country on Sunday evening and revised guidance has been issued over the last couple of days. The main thrust of the revisions is that an outline relaxation time-table has been shared, although the exact timings depend on the continued reduction in infections.
Government advice is that people should work from home wherever possible. Where this is not possible, and the work is not on the list of businesses that must close, people may travel to work. However, strict social distancing must be in place in the work place and public transport should be avoided.
As a non-essential business we took the decision to stop all CCT activities as this best met the spirit of the Government’s tone in late March. With the start of some relaxations we have reviewed this position and the following policy will be in place until superseded.
REVISED CCT COVID 19 POLICY
Notwithstanding any measures we take it will not be possible to reduce the infection risks to zero. Therefore, no one should feel under any pressure to resume volunteering. If they are not fully comfortable with returning at the current time they should remain at home. Although the Government has said that the over 70s are more vulnerable, they have not differentiated their advice for this group when compared with the rest of the population; this is reflected in this CCT policy. People at extremely high risk who are ‘shielding’ or living with someone in this category should not return to volunteering.
No one who feels unwell with Coronavirus symptoms¹ is permitted to volunteer. Anyone who starts to feel unwell while working is to immediately inform their supervisor and return home. No one who is isolating because of their own health, or that of another household member, is permitted to volunteer.
¹Cough, fever, loss of taste or smell.
Each area or supervisor is to keep a record of volunteers that have worked together over a rolling 14-day period. This is to be available to assist in ‘track and trace’ should one or more people become ill with Coronavirus.
Regular 20 second hand washing or sanitising remains an important aspect of infection control and volunteers should be reminded regularly to comply. In all areas facilities for hand washing or sanitising must be available before work can recommence. There must be a routine in place for keeping the facilities clean; this also applies to toilet facilities.
CCT operate a number of vehicles and no passengers must be carried (i.e. driver only). Volunteers should travel to wherever they are working either in their own vehicles, or better still on foot or by cycling. Vehicle controls and handles are to be wiped clean with general disinfectant or soap and water after use (i.e. before leaving the vehicle at the end of the day or before use by a different driver).
For all activities the minimum number of volunteers should be employed to discharge the task efficiently and safely. Team composition should also remain as static as possible to reduce potential spread of infection. Every unnecessary person on site increases the risk of infection spread and the likelihood of further lockdown. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the minimum number of people are employed to discharge any task effectively. The CCT minimum two-person rule remains in place.
Managing numbers and deployment of volunteers will be more complex at this time. As a result, volunteers wishing to work should contact their normal Team Leader by phone or e-mail prior to reporting for duty. They will be informed where they will be asked to work and should proceed directly to that site to avoid large groups gathering at depots. Tools and equipment will be delivered to site and collected at the end of work as necessary.
The Government requires that any work area or site has a COVID specific risk assessment undertaken before people return to work. These risk assessments are to be conducted by supervisors in consultation with their teams and any additional mitigation controls put in place. In particular, these assessments must take account of the proximity of the public, especially when working on or near towpaths.
Below are an initial set of site or activity specific rules:
Visitor Centres and Bookshop
These will remain closed until further notice. See below for Bookshop relocation activities.
Trip Boat Operations
These will not resume until further notice. Boat monitoring can continue under guidance already agreed but boat movements, except in an emergency, should not resume pending C&RT guidance changing (expected on 1 June).
Administration Office (Bell House)
Where home working is practical it should be adopted in preference to using the office. Where the office is used the following applies:
• Open to nominated personnel only: Matthew Lee, Lisa Mant and Aimee Malcolm.
• Two metre separation maintained.
• No hot desking.
• No sharing of crockery or cutlery.
• Additional cleaning of areas frequently touched using normal cleaning products.
Depots, Construction Sites, Workboats, Outside Maintenance, Bookshop Relocation and Logging
Depots can now be used and construction and other outside activities recommenced. The bookshop relocation activities also fall under these rules. The following restrictions apply:
• Welfare facilities, with the exception of toilets and hand washing, are to remain closed.
• Two metre separation is to be maintained. No extended period without maintaining social distance is permitted and if this rule cannot be maintained the job must be stopped.
• Where for short periods of less than 15 mins (e.g. manual handling) the 2-metre rule cannot be maintained volunteers must avoid face to face contact and wear face coverings. It must be stressed that face coverings have a marginal benefit in terms of infection control and are NOT an alternative to social distancing.
• When working indoors a face covering must be worn, but please note the post script below and again they are NOT an alternative to social distancing.
• Eating and drinking must be from volunteers’ own supplies (e.g. food, drink, thermos, cups, cutlery) and undertaken either outdoors with 2-metre separation or each in own private vehicle.
• PPE (gloves, eye protection, hard hats, hi vis, ear defenders) must not be shared.
• Wherever possible workboats, plant, vehicles should be restricted to single crews or operators to minimise cross-contamination. Equipment, plant and tools (particularly handles and other areas regularly touched) are to be cleaned/disinfected before and after use.
• Gatherings of volunteers are to be avoided and briefings must be conducted outside with the 2-metre separation in place.
• Workboats can be operated in support of maintenance activities, but this should not include general transit of the navigation that is unrelated to specific maintenance tasks or use for training. This pending a change in C&RT guidance (expected on 1 June).
This guidance will be updated as Government rules and advice changes. The next substantive change is expected in early June.
Thank you for your continued support and compliance. If you have any questions please ask your Team Leader or a Trustee.
CCT Trust Council
Post Script on Face Coverings (an extract from Government guidance)
There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms.
A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context.
It is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small, therefore face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including social distancing, minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing.
The Cotswold Canals Trust is evolving into quite a substantial business. Visitor Centres, Boat Trips, Book Shop, Trust Administration and of course Canal Restoration. All of this activity relies heavily on people, both a small number of employees and a significant pool of volunteers. It is therefore an absolute priority for the Trust that the health and safety of all involved within the Trust and the public is protected from the effects of any of our activities.
Much work on health and safety is already undertaken, but we could do with one more person (part-time) to share the work in our team as we continue to expand our activities. The work is interesting, enabling volunteers to meet and work with people across the Trust. It also includes a good balance of getting out and about with working flexibly from home. To see the Health & Safety Job Description go to www.cotswoldcanals.org.uk/2020/01/17/job-opportunities-jan-2020/# where you can also find contact details to discuss or get more information.
We are please to say that we have filled the survey team vacancies advertised last month [Update 2/2/20]
Our Data Protection Policy 2018 is available to view on SafetyNet. The Cotswold Canals Trust is committed to continual improvement of our data management procedures to protect the privacy of those we work with and those that support us. This responsibility applies to all persons within the organisation that process personal data, under the guidance of CCT's Data Protection Group.
But don't forget, as volunteers, your data matters too! You can find out more information on your personal rights from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) here - https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/
The Data Protection Group currently meets quarterly and comprises: Lisa Mant, Aimee-Louise Malcolm, a Connect representative and an IT representative.
If you have any questions about how we handle personal data, or suggestions for improving our procedures, then please contact Lisa on [email protected] [Updated 10/12/19]
It has become apparent that the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while working on the canal is not always being used. This is particularly highlighted as pictures keep appearing on blogs and the web-site showing that our own policies are not being followed.
Some elements of PPE are fundamental controls in most of our risk assessments and includes, as appropriate: eye protection, hard hats, life jackets, high vis, gloves etc. If they are then not being used the risk assessment is undermined. So if you are working anywhere on one of our projects please (for your sake and that of the project overall) wear the required PPE. If you are a supervisor please make sure that all in your team are aware of the PPE requirements and are complying.
Within the new CCT Safety Management System there is a requirement to undertake audits against the risk assessments we perform when planning a project. These will be commencing in the next few months and it would be encouraging to find that we are in good shape when considering the use of PPE. Best regards, Laurence Bryant. [Posted 19/07/19]