Covid-19 Safety Plan, Church Offices and Farmhouse Common Room
10 September, 2020
Assess the risk at the Church Office space
First Unitarian Church of Victoria has assessed the potential risk from Covid-19 exposure at the Church Office space. Based on that assessment, First Unitarian has identified various actions that need to be taken. First Unitarian will continue to assess the workplace after operations resume to ensure risks are identified and managed.
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways, including through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, or from touching a contaminated surface before touching the face. First Unitarian has considered the following questions:
- Where do people congregate, such as break rooms, production lines, or meeting rooms?
- What job tasks or processes require workers to come into close proximity with one another or members of the public?
- What tools, machinery, and equipment do people come into contact with in the course of their work?
- What surfaces are touched often, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, equipment, and shared tools?
The Church Office does not have a single specific area where people congregate.
When visitors come into the office, a church employee(s) may come into close proximity with these visitors. To reduce the risk from visitors, First Unitarian has installed plexiglass barriers on the counters by the Office Administrator’s desk. First Unitarian has implemented that all visitors must wear a mask and that no more than 2 visitors can be in the general office space at any one time. If more than 2 visitors need to come into the office, they shall wait in the Common Room (with social distancing) until no visitors are in the church office. The treasurer’s office, Arran’s office, Nick’s office and kitchen can only accept 1 person, the Minister’s offices can accept 2 people and the Farmhouse Common Room 7 people.
The office staff come into contact with their computers/printer and the copier in the course of their work.
Surfaces that are touched often include doorknobs and light switches.
Implement measures to reduce the risk
First Unitarian has selected and put measures in place to minimize the risk of transmission.
Maintaining physical distance
- First Unitarian has reduced the overall number of workers at the workplace at one time. This was done by implementing work-from-home schedules. Only the Office Administrator comes into the church office, and only on Monday and Thursday afternoons.
- Ensure that the appropriate number of people are in each area of a workplace to prevent workers from coming too close to one another or members of the public.
- Maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between workers and others wherever possible.
- Implement measures to ensure workers can maintain a distance of two metres when serving or working with or near members of the public.
Where physical distance cannot be maintained
- Where distance cannot be maintained, consider separating people with partitions or plexiglass barriers. First Unitarian has installed plexiglass barriers on the counters by the Office Administrator’s desk.
Where other measures are not sufficient, consider the use of masks, understanding that these have limitations. First Unitarian has implemented that all visitors must wear a mask and that no more than 2 visitors can be in the general office space at any one time.
Cleaning and hygiene
- Provide adequate hand-washing facilities on site for all workers and ensure the location is visible and easily accessed. Develop policies around when workers must wash their hands, including upon arriving for work, before and after breaks, after handling cash or other materials, before and after handling common tools and equipment.
- Implement a cleaning protocol for all common areas and surfaces, including washrooms, equipment, tools, common tables, desks, light switches, and door handles. Ensure those engaged in cleaning have adequate training and materials.
- Remove any unnecessary tools or equipment that may elevate the risk of transmission, including items like coffee makers and shared utensils and plates.
First Unitarian has provided hand sanitizer 75% alcohol content pump bottles as well as hand soap in the washroom and staff kitchen. First Unitarian employees must wash their hands upon arriving for work, before and after breaks, after handing of paperwork, and before and after using the copier.
First Unitarian has provided a dilute bleach solution (one cup of bleach to one gallon of water or 30 ml of bleach in 1 litre of water) in a labelled spray bottle along with a cloth wipe. This solution will be wiped on all touch surfaces before and after use. Touch surfaces include doorknobs, faucets, toilet handles, light switches; etc. For any electronic equipment (such as computers or copier; etc.), the alcohol solution shall be used as the cleaner.
The staff kitchen workspace should not have any shared utensils and plates.
Develop the necessary policies to manage your workplace, including policies around who can be at the workplace, how to address illness that arises at the workplace, and how workers can be kept safe in adjusted working conditions. Communicate these policies clearly to workers through training, signage, and reminders as required.
- The provincial health officer and the BCCDC have issued the following guidance around self-isolation, which must be reflected in your policies:
- anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days must self-isolate at home; symptoms include fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and new muscle aches or headache.
- anyone under the direction of the provincial health officer to self-isolate must follow those instructions
- anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms
- Prohibit or limit visitors.
- Have a plan around workers who may start to feel ill while at work, including who they should notify and how they will travel from the workplace to their home.
First Unitarian has developed policies to manage the church office to minimize risk. Currently, only the Office Administrator is present in the church office, on a reduced work schedule. Most of the Office Administrator’s work schedule is done at home. If anyone of the First Unitarian employees has symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and new muscle aches or headache, they must self-isolate at home.
Any employee of First Unitarian who may start to feel ill while at work shall immediately leave work and notify the office supervisor.
First Unitarian has implemented a limit on visitors to the church office. First Unitarian has implemented that all visitors must wear a mask and that no more than 2 visitors can be in the general office space at any one time. If more than 2 visitors need to come into the office, they shall wait outdoors (with social distancing) until no visitors are in the church office.
Develop communication plans and training
You must ensure that everyone entering the workplace, including workers from other employers, knows how to keep themselves safe while at your workplace.
- Be sure everyone is trained on the measures you have put in place and the policies around staying home when sick.
- Post signage, including occupancy limits and effective handwashing practices. Signage should also be posted at the main entrance indicating who is restricted from entering the premises (including visitors and workers with symptoms).
- Ensure supervisors have been trained on monitoring workers and workplace to ensure policies and procedures are being followed.
First Unitarian has installed signage in the church office space as well as at the main entrance to the Farmhouse first floor indicating who is restricted from entering the premises. The same signage has also been put on all entrances to the Sanctuary and Lion Hall. In addition, First Unitarian has installed signage on the proper wearing of masks. Office staff have provided input in the writing of this COVID-19 Safety Plan and have been trained in the implementation of this plan.