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COVID-19 age and Personal Risk Assessment

Last update to webpage: 24 March 2022

In the light of the publication of the roadmap out of lockdown, we would like to confirm that there is no change to the Covid-19 age and Personal Risk Assessment.  The assessment tool already takes into consideration an individual's age and includes additional health questions to ensure that your Covid-19 age is calculated accordingly and your risk factor reflect these if relevant (please read the Caveats section of the Covid-19 Medical Risk Assessment before completing the form).  If there are any changes to the scoring criteria of the Risk Assessment then we will advise staff, via the Weekly Bulletin, and it will be recommended that the Risk Assessment be completed again.

Following completion of the Covid-age calculator and (if appropriate) the COVID-19 Personal Risk Assessment and Action Plan, unless there has been a change in your health or working environment, there is no need to change the arrangements agreed with your manager regarding on-campus working.  All colleagues are encouraged to complete the Covid-age calculator at least once a term as the tool is updated from time-to-time to take account of the latest research and medical information. If you have any ongoing concerns about your work and health, please speak to your manager.

NOTE: Vaccinations - There is a question on the Covid-19 age tool asking if you have received two vaccinations.  If you have only received one vaccination then you should answer no to this question. 

Personal Risk Assessment

We understand that there may be some colleagues who are more vulnerable than others to the COVID-19 infection and its potential impact.  We also know due to age, underlying health conditions, ethnicity, gender and body mass, that some people are more vulnerable to the infection than others.

To ensure that we can support colleagues to feel safe working on campus, we are asking all colleagues to complete a COVID-19 age Individual Vulnerability Risk Assessment. The risk assessment will help to identify a COVID-19 age and where this is identified as High or Very high, you will be able to work with your line manager, and Occupational Health if required, to ensure you have the appropriate support.  The details you record on the online assessment tool will be confidential and there will be no requirement to share these details with your line manager or other colleagues - you will only need to share your COVID-19 age or your vulnerability level.

There are two parts to the Personal Risk Assessment process. 

PART ONE: All staff are asked to:

  1. Read the staff guidance form on My safe return to Campus working
  2. Complete the online COVID-19 age Individual Vulnerability Assessment tool to calculate your COVID-19 age. You also need to complete the five additional health questions at the end of the assessment.
  3. Inform your manager of your COVID-19 age or vulnerability level. You do not need to share your assessment or the details of the scoring if you do not want to.
  4. If you have a low or moderate COVID-19 age and have answered no to the five additional health questions then you do not need to do anything further. You do not need to complete Part Two.

This tool has been developed in the UK and is promoted by BMA. It is subject to updates and the scores may go up or down for particular categories based on the research on COVID health impacts. Therefore, we encourage you to regularly complete the tool. This is especially important if you are on borderline of a higher risk category.

PART TWO: After completing Part One, only staff who have obtained a High or Very High COVID-19 age or have answered 'yes' to one of the five health questions should: 

  1. Complete a COVID-19 Personal Risk Assessment with your manager.  You do not need to share your COVID-19 age Individual Vulnerability Risk Assessment or the details on the scoring if you do not want to.
  2. Your manager, with your support, should make any necessary adjustments or advise you to continue to work from home at this time. The situation will be reviewed as the COVID-19 national and local situation changes.
  3. If you and your manager agree with outcomes of your discussions then you do not need to do anything further.
  4. If you or your manager can not agree an action plan to minimise risk then you should email your COVID-19 Personal Risk Assessment‌ completed with your manager AND your COVID-19-age individual Vulnerability Risk Assessment to Occupational Health.  Occupational Health will need to have both Assessments and will keep the information confidential.
  5. Occupational Health will review the information you have provided and contact you if any additional information is required.
  6. Occupational Health will advise you and your manager if any further necessary adjustments are recommended and you and your manager may adjust the Risk Assessment and Action Plan as a result of their advice if this is possible.

Current evidence from the UK suggests that pregnant women are no more likely to get COVID-19 than other healthy adults, but they are at slightly increased risk of becoming severely unwell if they do catch COVID-19. In order to mitigate any risks, you should ensure you follow the latest government guidance for pregnant employees.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists online gives key advice for pregnant women including what to do if you get symptoms, the effects of Covid-19, vaccines and practical advice on antenatal and postnatal care during this time. If you have any additional concerns you should speak to your GP or contact Occupational Health.

Please ensure that you complete a maternity risk assessment with your manager as soon as possible in your pregnancy. This should be reviewed each trimester or more frequently if appropriate and upon your return to work.  You should also complete both Parts 1 and 2 of the Personal Risk Assessment process.

If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy and haven’t yet been vaccinated, you are advised to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to book your second dose as soon as you are eligible. You can find further advice on pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination on NHS.UK

It is important that adequate ventilation, good hygiene and cleaning are strictly applied. You should also take lateral flow tests regularly.  Please see Coronavirus (Covid 19): Advice for pregnant employees for further information.

The shielding programme ended in England in Sept 2021 and government advice is that, as a minimum, people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 should follow the same guidance on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

However, staff should consider advice from their clinician or health professional on whether additional precautions are right for them.

Narrowed list of those at greater risk

The government released information on 24 December 2021 for those individuals whose immune system means that they are at higher risk of serious illness if they become infected with Covid-19 and updated this information on 24 February 2022.  This is a smaller cohort than before.

Anyone who is in one of the two groups with weakened immune systems defined as

  • eligible for a third primary dose (in addition to the 'booster' of the Avid-19 vaccine) or
  • eligible for the new treatments for Covid-19

is advised to:

  1. ensure that they have had all of the vaccines that they are eligible to receive, including the booster
  2. continue to follow any condition-specific advice given to them by their specialist
  3. consider continuing to wear a face covering in public spaces
  4. work from home if this feels right to them. If they cannot work from home, employees should speak to their manager about what temporary arrangements they can make to reduce risk using the Covid-19 Personal Risk Assessment and Action Plan.
  5. reduce the time they spend in enclosed crowded spaces
  6. practice social distancing if that feels right for them
  7. ensure appropriate ventilation is being used
  8. wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their face.

There are additional recommendations included in the Government guidance for people in this category which are relevant to home and social activities. 

Personal Risk Assessments

The University has decided not to change the existing personal risk assessment process that is currently in place.  We will continue to support those staff who were considered at high risk from COVID-19  as well as for the new narrowed list of those now classed as at greater risk. 

The following process should continue to be followed:

  • The individual should complete the Personal Risk Assessment and Action Plan prior to working on campus,
  • Read the Support for previously considered CEV staff and managers,
  • They should discuss any concerns that they may have with regards working on campus with their manager.,
  • The manager should review the building risk assessment and workplace risk assessment with reference to any particular needs of the individual putting extra measures in place to keep the person safe;
  • The manager should consider temporarily changing the individuals working patterns if this will reduce contact with others at peak travel times,
  • Occupational Health and/or the Health and Safety team may be contacted if specific health, wellbeing or safety advice is needed by either the manger or the individual,
  • Once working on campus, the individual should ensure that they book twice-weekly COVID-19 tests even if they have already been vaccinated to continue to protect themselves and others.

If you have not previously been considered clinically extremely vulnerable yourself but are living with someone who is, then you are still able to attend work on campus if you have been requested to do so. You should discuss your individual circumstances with your manager to agree where you should work, with support from Occupational Health if needed.

If, once you have completed the COVID-19-age Individual Vulnerability Risk Assessment, your personal circumstances change and you think that this may affect your COVID-19-age then it is recommended that you complete the COVID-19 Individual Vulnerability Risk Assessment again. If this changes your COVID-19-age or your vulnerability level then please let your manager know.  If you move to a High or Very High COVID-19-age then you should follow the process for completing the Personal Risk Assessment reporting form.

Government advice is that vaccinations will help suppress and control the spread of the virus and variants.

There is evidence to show that a person's COVID-19 age may be reduced after two vaccines.  Having taken specialist advice on this, the University advises that where a person's COVID-19 age is under 100 and the person has had two COVID-19 vaccines then their COVID-19 age can be reduced by 15 years (subject to any local outbreaks or restrictions when further guidance will be issued).  This will be calculated automatically when you complete the COVID-19 Age Individual Vulnerability Risk Assessment.

It is not mandatory for individuals to be vaccinated and there may be personal reasons why someone does not wish to be vaccinated.  It is important if you are having a discussion about whether someone has/hasn't been vaccinated that this be considered the same as any other personal/sensitive information which not everyone will be comfortable sharing. There are many reasons people may not have been vaccinated so you should be mindful not to make assumptions about whether others have/haven't been vaccinated and if they haven't, the reasons for that.

If you do not have access to a computer or you are finding it difficult to use the online forms, there are a number of options open to you:

  • If you work on the Streatham Campus, you can drop in to the Forum atrium and ask the H2H Team Leader to help you complete the form
  • If you work on or near the St Luke’s Campus, you can speak to the ESS Hub who will arrange for one of the H2H Team Leaders to get in touch with you
  • You can telephone the Occupational Health Service on 01392 722666 and leave a voicemail message with your telephone number, requesting support. A member of the OH team will call back and offer an appointment to go through the assessment.
  • You can ask your manager to complete the form for you.

 If you choose the options above, please be assured that information you give about your personal health will be kept confidential.

The person completing the online Covid-age calculator on your behalf will advise you of your Covid-age and “vulnerability level” so that you can advise your manager. They will also remind you that if your “vulnerability level” is “high” or “very high” or you have answered yes to any one of the five additional health questions, then you must complete a Covid-19 Personal Risk Assessment in discussion with your manager. Please ensure that you agree with the outcome recorded on the Covid-19 Personal Risk Assessment following this discussion. If you cannot agree or you have any concerns, you can contact the Occupational Health Service.