Coronavirus Risk Assessment





The Original Risk Assessment Narrative was dated the 12th June 2020. It is re-printed at the end of this document. This Revised Risk Assessment Narrative is dated the 24th July 2020. 

Since the date of the Original Risk Assessment Narrative the Government has produced two updated versions of,


“Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in shops and branches

COVID-19 secure guidance for employers, employees and the self- employed”


They are dated the 10th and 23rd July 2020.


The Government has also issued guidance on

“Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own”

This was also updated on the 23rd July.

In addition, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on the 24th July 2020.


This Revised Risk Assessment Narrative deals with this guidance and the Regulations and the changes to the previous Narrative and Risk Assessment.


The guidance, the Regulations, this Narrative and the revised Risk Assessment have been sent to all employees.


This Narrative will now address the changes since the 12th June. 



  1. The risk of aerosol transmission


There is the potential for increased risk of transmission of COVID-29 from aerosol transmission.


Staff and customers should avoid the need to raise their voices to each other.


So, for example, if music is played within the shop it should be at a volume that does not make normal conversation difficult.



  1. Ventilation


Good ventilation will mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19.


The doors should be kept open if possible.


Fans can be used to improve air circulation, provided there is good ventilation.


The air conditioning system can be used to improve air circulation if the doors need to be closed for long periods.



  1. People who need to self-isolate

This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the government's test and trace service.


  1. Social Distancing


Social distancing guidelines still require a 2 metre distance, although if this is not viable a 1 metre distance with risk mitigations is permissible.


There is no need to change our existing policy on social distancing.



  1. After a COVID-19 outbreak


If there is a COVID-19 outbreak at the shop the single point of contact (SPOC) will be Philip Morrow or in his absence Graham Morrow who will be responsible for contacting local Public Health teams.  Up-to-date employment records are maintained by Graham Morrow.


Cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 will require consideration of the specific relevant guidance.



  1. Travel to work


You should walk or cycle where possible. Where this is not possible, you can use public transport or drive. You must wear a face covering when using public transport



  1. Face Coverings


Customers will be encouraged to comply with the law and wear face coverings unless there is a reasonable excuse not to wear one.  The most obvious example will be if a customer has a medical reason for not wearing one.


The responsibility for the wearing of face coverings remains with the individual.


Customers not wearing a face covering without a lawful excuse should not be permitted to enter the shop but a confrontational situation should be avoided. If necessary, assistance can be sought from the security staff within the Exchange.


Although we are not required to provide face coverings for customers, they will be available for them.


We will support you if you choose to wear a face covering it is not mandatory for you to wear a mask although we require you to wear one when a non-employee enters the shop.


You should continue to follow ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between you and others.


When using face coverings, they must be used safely. This means:


▪ Use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on and before and after removing it.

▪ When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.

▪ Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.

▪ Continue to wash your hands regularly.

▪ Change and/or wash your face covering daily.

▪ If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste.

▪ Practise social distancing wherever possible.






1.Risk Assessment

The risks of COVID-19 need to be assessed and managed.

As an employer, we have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety.

We have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures.

We need to think about the risks which exist and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

The Risk Assessment seeks to identify sensible measures to control the risks in the workplace.

As we have fewer than five workers we do not have to have a written risk assessment but we will do so.

We have consulted with our workers about the risk assessment.

This Risk Assessment Narrative and the Risk Assessment have been amended a number of times to take account of new guidance and discussions. The previous versions have been sent to workers.


  1. General

Everyone needs to be aware of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, to avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

There will be a sign to reinforce this message.

Hand sanitiser will be available in the shop and the storeroom.

It is likely that as individuals, both as workers and as customers, we will become more and more likely to have with us our own hand sanitiser, hand wipes, gloves and face coverings. We should ask those who enter the shop if they do have their own.         

The message from the Government is that we should all use our common sense. Always ask yourselves the question, “Is this safe” before doing it? If you think something is or might be unsafe, stop and do not do it: ask whether it is safe before doing it.


  1. The roadmap to re-opening

Unit 18 is a small retail unit of just over 490 square metres and has no integral washing and toilet facilities.

Unit SU30A is the storeroom located in the basement of Putney Exchange.

The shop has been deep cleaned and will be cleaned before the public are allowed to enter.

The process of cleaning and reorganising the storeroom and completing the stocktake is continuing.

It is anticipated that the shop will be trading on Monday, the 15th June but only on an appointment basis. At other times customers will be served from a table at the front door. The shop will also be used to facilitate virtual shopping.  This initial arrangement will last as long as it takes to ensure that the shop, when fully operational, will be safe for workers and customers.


4.Who should go to work?

There is no scope for working at home for the foreseeable future. The shop will be configured to make carrying out administrative and marketing work easier using a laptop or iPad.

In the short-term it is unlikely that there will be a need for more than two people to work in either the shop or the storeroom at the same time.

There is nothing to suggest that any employee is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable.

If anyone is advised to stay at home under existing government guidance that person should not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 as well as those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms.  It will also include those who are required to stay at home because of the track and trace system. If you fall into any of these categories you must notify us as soon as possible.  


5.Social Distancing at work

Two metre social distancing in the workplace must be maintained wherever possible. This includes entering and leaving the shop and storeroom and moving between them.

There will be a notice displayed to reinforce the need for social distancing.

Hand sanitiser should be used when entering and leaving the shop and the storeroom.

There may be occasions when social distancing is not possible but the period involved must be as short as possible.

Wherever possible the lift should only be used for moving items between the shop and storeroom and vice versa which cannot safely be moved by hand using the stairs.  In those circumstances hand sanitiser should be used before and after operating the lift if gloves are not being worn.

You should be encouraged to bring your own food and drink to work and to consume it within the shop.  When you leave the shop you should maintain social distancing.

To prioritise safety during incidents such as an accident, fire, theft or break-in, you do not have to stay two metres apart if it would be unsafe.

If you provide assistance to others during an incident you should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.


6.Managing customers, visitors and contractors

The objective is to minimise the contact resulting from visits to the shop. 



  1. have defined the number of customers that can reasonably follow two metre social distancing within the shop.
  2. will limit the number of customers in the shop at any one time and in congestion areas such as the doorway.
  3. will encourage customers to use hand sanitiser when they enter the shop to reduce the risk of transmission by touching products while browsing.
  4. will encourage customers to avoid handling products whilst browsing, if at all possible.
  5. will encourage customers to shop alone where possible, unless they need specific assistance.
  6. will remind customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
  7. will manage outside queues
  8. have designated positions from which we can provide advice or assistance to customers whilst maintaining social distance.
  9. will make sure that customers understand what they need to do to maintain safety.


It is not anticipated that any contractor will attend at either the shop or the storeroom in the foreseeable future. If there is a need for such a visit it will be known in advance so that plans to ensure social distancing are in place whilst the work is being carried out.


When it is safe for the shop to be fully operational initially only one customer can be in the shop at any one time.


More than one customer can come into the shop at the same time if it is confirmed that they are from the same household or social bubble.


When it is judged safe for more than one customer from different households or social bubbles to come into the shop at the same time a route around the shop will be brought into effect. If the main centre table is in its normal, central position there can be a clockwise route around the selling area.  Customers can go around the circle more than once but should be discouraged from going anticlockwise. Only two customers from different households or social bubbles can be in the shop at the same time.


Customers [and those with them] must wear face coverings when inside the shop.


When a customer enters the shop, staff must wear face coverings.


There will be signs about use of face coverings.


Workers can remain behind the counter and behind a perspex screen unless and until they are needed to provide assistance, which will need to be done from two metres. From that position they can also ensure that social distancing is taking place.  


Social distancing markers two metres apart will be placed on the floor around the circular route.

During the initial phase of trading when the only customers who enter the shop will be those with appointments, it is not expected that there will be any significant queue outside the shop. Instructions will be given to waiting customers to maintain social distancing. 

Signs providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene will be displayed.

The latest guidelines have been sent by e-mail to all staff and can be accessed on the computer, iPads and mobile telephones in the shop.

If the guidelines are updated they will be brought to the attention of both workers and customers.

The guidance suggests that customers should be informed that they should be prepared to remove face coverings safely if asked to do so by police officers or staff for the purposes of identification. In practise we do not anticipate that this will be a problem unless it covers most of the face.  


7.Cleaning the workplace

  1. Before re-opening

There will be a final cleaning of the shop before it is re-opened to the public.

Gloves will be worn and hand sanitiser and face coverings available. 

The doors of the shop and the storeroom should be open if possible to provide additional ventilation.

If an item needs to be moved by more than one person for the purposes of cleaning either the shop or the stockroom and the distance between the two people is less than two metres then face coverings need to be worn.


  1. After the shop has re-opened

The floor, windows, display areas and counter tops will be cleaned using the usual cleaning products.

The doors of the shop should be open if possible to provide additional ventilation. If the doors are closed the handles should be cleaned after they are used.

The floor will be vacuumed and mopped daily.

The display areas will be cleaned at the beginning of the day and after they are touched by a customer.

The counter will be cleaned at the beginning of the day and after it is touched by a customer.

Laptop/computer keyboards and iPads will be cleaned after use.

The existing daily cleaning schedule will be used and signed each day.

The storeroom will be the subject of a weekly inspection to determine what cleaning is necessary which will then be carried out.  


8.Handling Merchandise

It is necessary to reduce transmission through contact with the merchandise.

We have considered how to limit customer handling of merchandise through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock.

Hats and caps are the items which are most frequently tried on by customers. Sometimes, scarves, socks, belts and shirts are tried on. Most of the merchandise in the shop is often and regularly touched by customers. There are occasions when merchandise is returned by customers.

When shelves and display areas are re-stocked and tidied hand sanitiser should be used before touching the merchandise.

Stock should be rotated as far as possible. To give an example, in a stack of large thin socks containing six pairs the top pair can be moved to the bottom of the pile each day.    

Customers should be asked to use hand sanitiser or wear gloves before touching merchandise and there should be signs to re-enforce that request.

If an item has been tried on by a customer then it should be kept separate from the other stock and not be used to try on for a period of three working days.


  1. Returned items

If an item is returned by a customer then it should be kept separate from the other stock and not be placed back with the other stock for a period of three working days.


  1. Taking payment

Card readers should be used rather than taking cash. Customers should be requested not to use cash. It may be that cash payments will not be accepted in the future.  

If cash is used, hand sanitiser must be used after handling it.

Cash must be taken and given complying with social distancing requirements.

The use of card readers by customers must comply with social distancing requirements.

Contactless payments should be encouraged.

Taking the long card number and post code from the customer will avoid the need for the customer to handle card readers. The reason for doing this can be explained to the customer.

If a customer does handle a card reader he or she should be asked to use hand sanitiser or wear gloves before handling it. After a customer has used a card reader it must be cleaned and hand sanitiser used.

Each worker should use a designated i-Pad or i-Phone and card reader and be responsible for charging it and cleaning it at regular intervals.



11.Taking Deliveries

Deliveries cannot be taken in the shop, other than very small packages.

Delivery drivers should be required to take the delivery to the storeroom. Unless there are two people working in the shop, it must be locked before going to the storeroom. When taking delivery in the storeroom social distancing must take place.

Because there is a small risk of the virus being on the packaging and its contents, handling of the packaging and its contents will take place wearing gloves. 


12.Personal Protective Equipment [PPE]


When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE is not beneficial because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and not through the use of PPE.

There are some circumstances when wearing a face
covering may be 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 is not possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as surgical masks.

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.


13.Workforce Management

To make sure all workers understand COVID-19 related safety procedures and to supplement the written documents discussions have and will take place. Discussions have taken place before cleaning activities began and will take place before working in the shop when it is open again to the public.

Weekly discussions will take place to make sure all workers understand and are working in accordance with the guidelines and to ensure that you are kept up to date with how safety measures are being implemented or updated.  This will help to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments.

If you have any concerns about any health issues, including mental health issues at this time of uncertainty please bring them to our attention.




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