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Covid-19 Manchester Office Risk Assessment 24 August 2020

Fieldings Porter Covid-19 Risk Assessment   -  Manchester Office                                                    24.8.20


This Risk Assessment has been prepared following the publication of the government's Covid-19 Recovery Strategy on 11th May 2020 and follows on from the earlier measures that this practice has already put in place prior to the government lockdown on 23rd March 2020.

This document will be reviewed at bi-monthly intervals with the next review due on or before 24th October 2020.


The Hazard

Covid-19 is an infectious virus that can result in a variety of medical conditions ranging from asymptomatic or mild flu like symptoms at one end of the scale to severe respiratory illness resulting in hospitalisation or death at the other extreme.

It is a relatively new virus, of which scientists are gradually learning more each month, but at this stage it is believed that:  “When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects, such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects, and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. If they are standing within 1 metre of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them.”  (World Health Organisation: Getting Your Workplace Ready for Covid 19, March 2020).


The current scientific consensus is therefore that Covid-19 may be transmitted through direct personal contact with an infected person, by being in close proximity to an infected person, or through contact with surfaces touched/contaminated by an infected person.


Who is at Risk?


The following groups are at risk from the virus:

a). Partners and staff in the office.

b). Partners and staff working from home.

c). Clients.

d). Visitors to the office, including, but not limited to, cleaners, maintenance workers, tradespeople, delivery drivers and postal workers.


Eliminating the Risk


Ultimately the risk of transference of the Covid-19 virus can only be eliminated completely by closing the office to staff, clients and visitors, and requiring all contact between these groups, and individuals within these groups, to be remote.


As with most other organisations It is not possible to operate the practice in this manner and it is not therefore possible to completely eliminate all risk.


Reducing the Risk and Preventing Harm


We have identified a number of reasonably practicable control measures that can be put in place to very significantly reduce the risk of transference of the Covid-19 virus. The measures that we have put in place are designed to either avoid any physical interaction between partners, staff, clients and visitors, or as a minimum to avoid these people being in close proximity to one another.

These measures will be reviewed at bi monthly intervals as the presence of the virus in the community changes and as the science around the virus develops, but for the moment the following measures are in place:

We have decided to reduce the number of people present in the office on each working day to the lowest level reasonably practicable for the operation of the business. In order to achieve this we have mandated that:


  1. It is the default position that any member of the Fieldings Porter team who can work from home will work from home until further notice.
  2. We have set up Microsoft Teams on our computer network and advised all lawyers that where at all possible meetings with clients are to be held remotely.


We judge that these measures above are the most effective control measures that we can put in place as in simple terms if people are not visiting the office they cannot be exposed to infection from anyone or any surface within the office.

Some people still however have to attend the office if it is to continue to operate as a legal practice and we have therefore identified the following additional measures to reduce risk to those who may be present in the office on any particular day.



If members of staff have to visit the Manchester office to undertake work then they must book their attendance in advance into the Manchester office diary in the “other calendars” section of outlook. A message should also be sent to Kate Young, Martha Whitehead and John Webster notifying them of the booking.


Please note that currently those operating the Manchester Office are requiring 48 hours notice of client appointments and so you will need to register the appointment with the Landmark Reception.  Sarah Petrie is the current reception staff and can be contacted on 0161 457 0008.


Only a maximum of 2 members of staff may use the Manchester office at any one time until further notice. The two work stations available are the one closest to the door and the one furthest from the same.


Our interview room can safely hold 2 additional people at a social distance well in excess of 2 metres.  The firm’s wi-fi range reaches to that interview room.


For those people who have to work in the office we require everyone to follow the same strict social distancing rules as operate at Bolton, namely please observe a 2 metre distance from colleagues and clients in accordance with the guidance issued by Public Health England.


Currently the revolving door entrance to the office on the ground floor is closed and access is gained via the door to the left which is currently left open during office hours but has a swipe panel which can be used outside those hours. Non-pass holders will need to use the intercom to talk to ground floor reception.


Hand sanitisers are located at the turnstile gates and the lifts are limited to 2 people at a time.

Once you arrive onto our floor there is a one way system which means that you will enter the suite by the reception doors, where access is controlled by the receptionist.  At the doors there is a fixed thermal imaging camera which tests visitor’s temperature. On exit from our unit you turn right and follow the anti clockwise signage all the way around to access reception or go further to get to the second kitchen and toilets and the lift lobby via the furthest glass doors. There are numerous hand sanitiser dispensers on our floor.

Much of the public areas are marked out of bounds as buffer zones.

The kitchen is operating as normal and is regularly cleaned by the contract cleaners, but the tables and chairs in the kitchen are not currently available for use by visitors.


There are no computer towers at Manchester Office so you will be using your own laptops but please use the wipes in the cupboard to wipe down the phone, door handle and any other surface that you have touched before departure.


Please also use your dobber for the photocopier.


When meetings are to be held at the office the following procedure must be followed:.


The lawyer will notify Kate Young and John Webster of the need for a client meeting and will book the same into the Interview (M) appointments diary in the outlook calendar;


The lawyer will contact the Landmark reception and notify them of the appointment having been booked, the name of the client and the date and time of the booking.


The client will be advised of the following on site meeting procedures.


The client will enter the building and be sent to the second floor by the ground floor reception.  The second floor reception should be there to welcome the client and will notify you of their arrival. The lawyer will go to greet the client and invite them to sanitise their hands at the station near the reception desk.


The client will then be taken by the lawyer to the meeting room again whilst observing social distancing.


During the meeting 2 metre social distancing must be observed where possible and, where full 2 metre social distancing is not possible, will observe distancing of no less than 1 metre plus.


After the meeting the client will be given the option of using a hand sanitiser and will be then led to the entrance door.


The lawyer will use the wipes provided to sanitise the office furniture and door handles.


Partners and staff meeting clients or other professionals outside the office will observe 2 metre social distancing at all times before and during the meeting and will wash their hands, using soap and water or hand sanitiser, before and after the meeting.


Partners and staff will work from home where reasonably practicable, but no partner or member of staff will work permanently from home.


The office will remain closed to outside visitors save in the circumstances described above.


Reviewed on 24.8.20