Public Protection - COVID-19 service updates

 

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Stay alert!!

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly.

Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.


Checklist for businesses

Public Protection has produced a checklist for businesses to help you put in place measures within the workplace to keep both employees and customers safe.


Guidance from government


Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. 

These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. 

Public Protection have compiled a series of useful posters you may wish to use when you decide to open your business (providing you comply fully with government guidance).

Download the posters for your business


It is important to note that Public Protection can assist the following sector areas:

  • warehouses
  • offices/contact centres
  • retail
  • food/catering
  • hospitality
  • customer services
  • leisure.

Please email coronavirus@telford.gov.uk or phone 01952 382000.

If you require information about any other business sector, then please contact the HSE by phone 0300 003 1647 or visit the HSE website.

With the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to share with you what businesses and premises must close, together with the exceptions.

With the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), Public Protection have put together some useful advice for the following:

In addition, the government has produced guidance for food businesses on Coronavirus.

Public Protection would like to highlight the following paragraph from the above guidance, which will need to be implemented if you still intend to operate as a take-away premise:

  • no orders should be taken in person on the premises - this should be communicated to customers by appropriate means such as signage
  • businesses should therefore only take orders online or by telephone
  • customers could have staggered collection times - customers should be discouraged from entering the premises until their order is ready
  • customers arriving without having already placed an order should be encouraged to leave the premises to place their order by telephone or online, and to return at a designated time for collection
  • customers whose orders are ready should enter one at a time to collect orders and make payments
  • businesses should discourage crowding outside the premises. Where possible, use queue management systems to maintain the 2 metres separation.

In order to protect your staff and customers against catching Coronavirus, if your business does not have the ability to take online and phone orders you will have to rethink whether you should open.

If you do change how you currently operate, then you should think through the food safety hazards and ensure that you have adequate control measures in place to provide safe food for your customers.

Additional issues to consider

In addition to the current food safety controls you already have in place, you need to consider:

  • Suppliers - Ensure you continue to use reputable suppliers.
  • Surface disinfectants - Where suitable surface disinfectants are unavailable you must continue to adequately clean any food preparation surfaces and equipment using detergent and hot water.
  • Cross contamination - Equipment used for raw and ready to eat foods must be separate if you cannot effectively clean and sanitise in-between uses with a suitable sanitiser due to them being unavailable.
  • Hand washing - Regardless of the availability of hand sanitisers, all food handlers must regularly wash their hands using warm running water, hand soap (for at least 20 seconds) and dry them with disposable paper towels.
  • Temperature control - Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool during transportation. This may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag. If you are transporting hot food, it should be kept hot. This may need to be packed in an insulated box or bag. It is recommended to keep travel distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.
  • Allergens - If you have made any changes to your menu ensure you have reviewed your allergy information. It is also vitally important to protect your customers that you work through this. There is also a wealth of advice for businesses on allergen management on the FSA website. Do not serve people with a food allergies or intolerances if you cannot guarantee that food has not been contaminated with their specific allergen.
  • Vehicles - All vehicles used to transport or deliver food must be kept clean, in good repair and condition and free from sources of contamination to protect food. All foods must be fully wrapped or packaged for transport or delivery to prevent contamination.
  • Contact-free delivery - When customers place an order you need to ask if they are self-isolating. This is to limit contact when delivering orders to help keep everyone healthy. Social distancing needs to be adhered to even if someone is not exhibiting any symptoms. You could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door, then step back at least 2 metres and wait nearby for the customer to collect it.
  • Takeaways - If available it is recommended that hand sanitiser is provided to customers. If this is not available due to the national shortage, then you should leave the entrance door open and clean and disinfect any potential hand contact surfaces regularly. Orders should be paid for with contactless payment wherever possible. If this is not possible then hands need to be washed thoroughly after handling money.
  • Social distancing during collection of takeaways -.  You should limit the number of customers who enter the premises to collect food so that the 2 metres social distancing rule can be adhered to. Social distancing could be achieved with the use of floor markers or similar.  There is also government guidance on social distancing.  For details visit GOV.UK - Guidance on social distancing
  • Infection Control - You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations. In addition, you have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public. Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place; any person with illness or symptoms must report it to a person in charge. Ensure the Government's infection control policy in relation to coronavirus is followed. For details visit GOV.UK - COVID 19: Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses.

For more information on how to sell products for takeaway or delivery visit the FSA - Distance selling, mail order and delivery.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact this department by email at coronavirus@telford.gov.uk.

Alternatively, call us on 01952 381818 (please note that we are experiencing an extremely high volume of calls, so we would advise you to email us if you can).

Process for expiry driver licences as of 30 March 2020

Licence renewal applications

If your Dual Driver Licence Licence is due to expire between 30 March and 30 September 2020 and you submit an application to renew that licence between these dates, the following procedure applies to you. 

If you are not currently working, but you think that you might want to begin working, please submit your renewal application at least 10 working days before your licence expires. This is due to the fact that some Licensing staff could be deployed on other duties during the pandemic crisis. You will not be able to work if your licence has expired and you have not renewed it. 

The key points of note are as follows:

  • there will be no licence fee to pay
  • your licence, if granted, will expire on 30 September 2020
  • you will be expected to submit an application for an enhanced DBS to Personnel Checks, but will not have to have  your ID documents verified at the Post Office
  • where drivers have not been able to get a medical appointment, they will be asked to complete a Driver Renewal Medical Declaration Form. The licence will not be granted unless the Medical Declaration Form has been completed
  • you licence will be emailed to your Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Operator
  • you must display a copy of your licence in your vehicle.

Any licences which expire between 30 March and 30 September 2020 and which lapse (are not renewed) will still be processed as renewals if applications are submitted after the expiry date and before 31 October 2020.

This procedure is subject to review either when the Coronavirus crisis ends or on 30 September 2020, whichever is sooner.


Process for expiry of vehicle licences as of 30 March 2020

Licence renewal applications

If your Private Hire Vehicle Licence is due to expire between 30 March and 30 September 2020 and you submit an application to renew that licence between these dates, the following procedure applies to you. 

If you are not currently working, but you think that you might want to begin working, please submit your renewal application at least 10 working days before your licence expires. This is due to the fact that some Licensing staff could be deployed on other duties during the pandemic crisis. You will not be able to work if your licence has expired and you have not renewed it. Any licences which expire between 30 March and 30 September 2020 and which lapse (are not renewed) will be processed as renewals if applications are submitted after the expiry date and before 31 October 2020.

This procedure is subject to review either when the Coronavirus crisis ends or on 30 September 2020, whichever is sooner.


Renewal application for hackney carriage/private hire vehicles

Vehicle proprietors will be expected to submit applications to Neighbourhood Services as normal but the following will apply.

  • There will be no licence fee to pay.
  • The licence, if granted, will expire on 30 September 2020.
  • In accordance with GOV.UK guidance, the vehicle must have a current MoT in place at 30 March 2020. Telford & Wrekin Council will not require the vehicle to be Compliance Tested. The vehicle owner must keep the vehicle safe to drive (‘roadworthy’) and compliant with Telford & Wrekin Council licence conditions. It is worth noting that a licensed vehicle could be unsafe even if your MOT expiry date has been extended. If the vehicle does not have a current MoT in place at 30 March 2020, the licence will not be granted.
  • You licence will be emailed to your Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Operator
  • You must display a copy of your licence in your vehicle.

Animal licensing

Visit the GOV.UK website to view the list of businesses which must not currently trade.

If your business is not on the list and you are permitted to continue trading you need to ensure you are controlling  all risks associated with your business and this includes for employees and non-employees.  In the context of COVI 19 the links below will likely be of assistance:

If you are running an animal boarding business, visit the CFSG website to download some useful guidance.

Due to the due current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the Telford and Wrekin Council Public Protection will be prioritising its work therefore, unfortunately some areas of the service will be operating at a reduced capacity. Therefore during this period the Council cannot guarantee Noise App submissions will be reviewed within 14 days. However Telford and Wrekin Public Protection officers will endeavour to respond to your submissions as soon as possible.

Please note: that noise recording equipment will not be installed during this time.

As more and more of us are spending extended time at home during the pandemic, we may be more aware of noise from our neighbours who are also home for longer periods and at different times.

Whilst this authority can take action against those who repeatedly make unreasonable noise that impacts on their neighbour’s enjoyment of their homes, there are some day to day noises that are heard due to people living in close proximity to one another. Examples would include footsteps and noise from washing machines and vacuum cleaners. In these instances it may require more understanding and patience rather than formal action or intervention by the council.

Likewise, you should also consider how activities may impact on those around you.

Some common examples of noise problems are included below, along with some guidance from our Public Protection Team.


DIY noise

Some people may choose to complete those DIY tasks that they have been meaning to get around to. Whilst you may enjoy putting your time at home to good use, your neighbours will not enjoy long periods of drilling, sawing or hammering. Be considerate by only carrying out noisy DIY between 9am to 5pm and try to not to use noisy power tools for more than 3 hours a day. Try not to do this work late at night. Resist the temptation to have the radio on outside or in an empty room with the windows open whilst you are carrying on building work.

It may help to pre warn our neighbours and tell them about the work and how long for so they will be aware and can discuss any concerns they may have.


Entertainment noise

You may want to catch up with your favourite box set or listen to your favourite artists. Be considerate by keeping the volume to a reasonable level that cannot be heard outside your home. It helps to keep the windows closed (or you may wish to use headphones when in the garden).

Consider the volume of any amplification equipment. If it can be heard beyond the boundary of your home/garden, it may be too loud and will need to be turned down. Think also about how sound might travel through structures into adjoining houses/flats. It may help to position any speakers indoors, pointing away from neighbouring properties and not putting speakers on party walls or floors.


Construction noise

The construction site next door or opposite your home might be finished for the day when you return home from work, but now your home during the day you might hear the work taking place on the site. Construction work is inherently noisy but as long as the site is managed well, keeps to the hours of 8am to 6pm (for noise generating work), and locates noisy activities as far away from neighbours as is reasonably practicable, they are working within the terms of the law and their planning conditions.


Children playing

As most of the schools across the Borough closed on 23 March for an indefinite period, you may hear your neighbour’s children playing or moving about at times when they would usually be at school. If they are asked to stay indoors as part of an isolation strategy they are more likely to be playing and moving around indoors. If you are a parent, please do your best to ensure that play activities do not disturb your neighbours. If you are a neighbour hearing children, please understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and children may become restless when forced to stay indoors. This is particularly important advice when you have people living above or below you.


Banging of doors/shouting or swearing

Your co-operation in ensuring that your levels of living noise are suitably controlled and that no nuisance is caused will be gratefully appreciated. We take a neutral, balanced view on the issue of personal living noise, but when a complaint is received in relation to consistent banging of doors, shouting or sweating, we have to ensure that residents work together to reach a compromise.

There are items which can be purchased to help with the reduction of slamming doors. If this is not an option for you, we would advise to ensure that doors are not slammed shut when leaving or entering your property, as this is can affect other residents. Due to the construction of certain properties, the sound of slamming doors can travel and can cause vibrations in other properties. This is also the case with raised voices.


How we can help

The council will continue to process complaints made concerning noise, but with a reduced response capacity. You can still call to report ongoing noise by calling 01952 381818.

In many instances you will be offered advice and we will endeavour to resolve the problem by initially contacting the source of the noise in writing. We are risk assessing reports of noise and will prioritise those complaints that are impacting on more than one other neighbouring address. Please note that noise monitoring equipment will not be installed at this time.

Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Public Protection will need to prioritise its work. Therefore, unfortunately some areas of the service will be operating at a reduced capacity.

Public Protection officers will endeavour to respond to your submissions as soon as possible.

In light of the current COVID 19, please be considerate and don’t burn waste!

Residents across the borough are being asked to think of others and to not burn waste during the current Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Public Protection is responsible for pollution control in the borough and we have received an increased number of complaints about fires in gardens since the lockdown began last month.

The effects of such fires at this time are likely to be much more serious and have a bigger impact. The Coronavirus is known to cause serious respiratory problems, which could be made much worse if the sufferer is exposed to smoke from bonfires.

It is important to be especially considerate at this time, when people are confined to their home and unable to escape unpleasant fumes. Bonfires can also become out of control or cause accidents, creating extra pressure on the already busy emergency services.

We understand that the closure of the Household Recycling Centres may create a storage issue for some residents. The Council’s recycling and green collection services are operating as normal at the moment, so please continue to use your waste and recycling containers until they are full and think of others. Compost your garden waste where possible, and stack or bag up additional green and recycling waste, rather than burn it. We also request that allotment holders dispose of green waste from their plot by composting as much as possible and avoid bonfires.

We will take enforcement action against any persistent offenders where fires cause an impact on neighbours.

If you are experiencing problems with neighbours having bonfires during this time please report the problem online.

What you should be doing if the building is still partially in use

You must first refer to your Legionella water risk assessment and written scheme for the premises. If the building is still partially in use you may follow your current controls and apply additional measures where necessary to keep the remaining occupants safe.

  1. Monitor
    Maintain your normal control regime so that the hot water is circulating throughout all parts of the system and flow temperature is maintained at above 60°C and the return on all loops is at above 50°C. Monitor water temperatures to ensure these temperatures are reached. The temperature should reach all outlets at above 50°C within 1 minute.
     
  2. Flush
    Flush gently (to reduce aerosols) all hot and cold outlets (showers and taps) at least weekly until they achieve the above temperatures. Where there is thermostatic mixer valve ensure the pipework feeding them achieves the same temperatures. Flush all WC cisterns, making sure that the toilet seat lid is closed when you do this, urinals, by-passes and any other points on the network.
     
  3. Disinfect
    For systems which are to be closed, where possible either drain and dry thoroughly, or disinfect so all parts of the system reach 50 parts per million free chlorine for 1 hour (or equivalent) as stated in your water risk assessment, flush through and drain.
     
  4. Document
    This should include reviewed and amended risk assessments, monitoring data and remedial actions, with evidence of the most recent person responsible who carried out the work, add time date and signature.
     
  5. Maintain
    You must then continue to adequately control Legionella within these systems.

What you should be doing if the system has been shut down

Draining systems down

Any system which is drained unless very small and simple will pose a risk when restarted as there will be remaining pockets of water and condensation which is sufficient to allow Legionella bacteria to grow.

Before draining, carry out a full system disinfection flushing through to all outlets to achieve 50 parts per million free chlorine or equivalent biocide for at least an hour. Then follow the below steps for when restarting the system. Do not just bring the system back into use without first taking the necessary measures to ensure the system is safe as this could expose people to Legionella bacteria. 

Where biocides are not used drain the system down and blow air through the system to dry as thoroughly as possible.

Restarting the system

It is important that the system is safe before it is brought back into use. When restarting, you should consider the following.

  1. Disinfect
    Disinfect the cold water system, flush though to all outlets to achieve 50 parts per million free chlorine or equivalent biocide for at least an hour checking that this level is achieved at the furthest outlets, top up when required.
     
  2. Flush
    Flush and refill the system to achieve maximum normal operating target levels of disinfection.
     
  3. Refill and reheat
    Refill and reheat the clarifier to 60°c and when it has been heated throughout, open the valves and flush through all outlets taking care to avoid any scalding risk. Water temperatures must reach and be maintained at 60°c.
     
  4. Monitor
    Monitor temperatures and biocide levels where applicable for at least 48 hours and then take Legionella samples from the sentinel outlets (the first and last taps). Adjust where necessary.
     
  5. Sample
    It is recommended that samples are taken 2-7 days following recommissioning and not on the day of disinfection. Follow-up samples may need to be considered as part of the recommissioning plan to ensure control is maintained.
     
  6. Re-open
    When you are satisfied the hot and cold water systems are under control then you can open the building. You will need to make sure that you keep documentation for inspection and follow the advice for other additional water systems or equipment.
     
  7. Maintain
    You must then continue to adequately control Legionella within these systems.

These steps have been taken from the guidance issued by the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Study Group on managing Legionella in building water systems. You must take into account that all water systems are individual.

View more information and guidance:


Leisure centres and health spas with spa pools, whirl pools and other systems

If spa pools have been taken out of use during this period of lockdown, those responsible should not forget the need to manage the risks from Legionella growth. This will also include water distribution systems feeding showers, kitchens and spas. The same risk factors apply to these systems as they with hot and cold water systems.

You must first refer to your risk assessment and review as it may be no longer be valid due to reduced usage resulting in low flow/water stagnation.

This risk assessment should review the potential for microbial growth during the shutdown period and the measures that need to be taken to minimise the risk of infections as a result of biofilm formation within the pool, pipework and components.

Swimming pools themselves should be safe against microbiological hazards as long as they are chlorinated properly and operated to PWTAG standards.

Spa pool recommissioning process should be as follows.

Below are the steps which should be followed when recommissioning spa pools:

  1. Disinfect
    Water disinfection to reduce microbial growth, typically with 50mg/l chlorine for at least one hour, with the pH kept as near to 7.0 as possible during this period.
     
  2. Prove
    Evidence that safety standards have been met.
     
  3. Test
    A comprehensive functional water test to ensure the spa pool system operates correctly.
     
  4. Sample
    Chemical and bacteriological analysis of the water to ensure operating parameters are achievable and being maintained.
     
  5. Maintain
    You must then continue to adequately control Legionella within these systems.

The spa pool should be fully tested to confirm its functional safety and fitness for its intended purpose before being brought back into use, and the procedure and results should be fully documented.

View further information and guidance:

Why you should stay at home

How to wash your hands

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