COVID-19 Contingency Planning Risk Assessment

Identification of the operation or activity

What is COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by a newly identified contagious virus. There are no therapeutics and vaccines available and there is presumably no pre-existing immunity in the population.

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe pneumonia and can lead to death. The evidence from analyses of cases to date is that COVID-19 infection causes mild disease (i.e. non-pneumonia or mild pneumonia) in about 80% of cases and most cases recover, 14 % have more severe disease and 6% experience critical illness.

Identification of the hazards

How coronavirus is spread

Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

It’s very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

Assessment of the risk

The risk associated with COVID-19 infection for people in the EU/EEA and UK is currently considered to be moderate to high, based on the probability of transmission and the impact of the disease. Based on the observed epidemiologic characteristics, everyone in the population is assumed to be susceptible, although there may be risk factors increasing susceptibility. The virus spreads rapidly, and can have an enormous public health impact with substantial fatal outcomes in high-risk groups and economic and societal disruption.

Evidence from studies on influenza, and from recent experience in China, suggest that non-pharmaceutical interventions reduce transmission. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that measures that are appropriate and proportionate to each phase of the epidemic are immediately put in place to interrupt human-to-human transmission chains, prevent further spread, reduce the intensity of the epidemic and slow down the increase in cases.

Identification of the persons at risk

The great majority of the most severe illnesses and deaths have occurred among the elderly and those with other chronic underlying conditions.

Determination of the necessary control or preventative measures

NHS UK Provide the following advice –

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

What is the best way to slow the spread of coronavirus?

COVID-19 can be transmitted from person-to-person at workplaces and in other public settings where people gather in contained spaces for long periods. Viral transmission may therefore be reduced by decreasing the frequency and length of social interactions and the physical contacts between individuals.

What’s the simplest thing I can do to slow the transmission of Coronavirus?

Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds and whenever you:

  • get home or into work
  • blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • eat or handle food

It’s important to use soap and water or a hand sanitiser.

Are face masks useful for preventing coronavirus?

Face masks play a very important role in places like hospitals, but there is very little evidence of widespread benefit for members of the public.

Do I need to avoid public transport, mass gatherings, festivals, concerts or places with crowds?

Most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places.

You only need to stay away from public places (self-isolate) if advised to by the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.

Self-isolation

How should I isolate myself if I think I might have coronavirus?

If there’s a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).

This means you should:

  • stay at home
  • not go to work, school or public areas
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands for you
  • try to avoid visitors to your home – it’s OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food

You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.

Workplace measures

We will implement further workplace measures to reduce the risk of transmission by decreasing contact opportunities in the workplace and the community.

Prevention

  • Advising staff to wash their hands with soap at any opportunity: recommending 6 times a day
  • Cleaning door handles 3 times a day
  • Washing any shared dishes, cutlery, mugs, glasses etc thoroughly and with soap
  • Immediately letting someone know if they are feeling ill and heading home straight away
  • Advising staff not to come into the office if they feel even mildly ill
  • No handshakes. Non-contact greetings will be practiced.
  • Virtual meetings will be offered in lieu of in person meetings, reducing chances of infection via travel and human-to-human contacts

Precautionary measures

  • We will monitor the situation and bring in home working for all staff if we believe the situation warrants it.
  • Staff are encouraged to undertake individual risk assessments in relation to their own circumstances. We already provide flexible and home working so if anyone feels it is best for them to work from home then this is fine.
  • To reduce chances of the staff team coming into contact with COVID-19 we will postpone the Fat Beehive staff event that was scheduled for Wednesday 22nd April in London. The event was due to happen in central London and would have required use of TFL services.

Operational Impact

Client Meetings

Many of our clients (and our own) team may well be working from home during April and May, which means existing client meetings will be affected.

MITIGATION
  • We are currently going through all scheduled client meetings to see which are suitable for video conferencing and which will need to be postponed.
  • New meetings will have to be virtual.

Hosting and Support

Our hosting is based on AWS, the largest hosting platform in the world. Our support ticketing system Jira is online and can be accessed by all staff via a log-in. If developers have to work from home we have limited access to our servers through VPN.

MITIGATION
  • The Head of Technical, CEO, Head of Technical Solutions & Support, Senior developer and Melontech all have access to AWS and will be able to monitor and maintain servers.
  • We have monitors on all our sites and servers that are linked to emails, mobiles and instant messaging software for all relevant staff.
  • If the production / support team is reduced due to illness we can update the portal announcements to inform clients of expected slower reply times.
  • In Jira there is an existing filter that is designed for when producers are away, this can be used by any of the team to follow tickets put in for absent team members.

Production

It is possible that work will continue to come in but a number of our staff are incapciatated or all our staff have to work from home for an extended period. If schools and nurseries close staff may also need to spend more time on child care responsibilities.

MITIGATION
  • We will be testing home working shortly to ensure that all our systems (VPN etc) are capable of working effectively with all staff working from home for an extended period.
  • Staff will be asked to take their laptops home (and other vital equipment) each evening to ensure that they can continue working if asked, at short notice, to stay away
  • We have a number of freelancers on stand-by who may be able to cover existing work at short notice if needed.

Phones

If we have to work from home the phones can be set to divert to one telephone number. However for an extended period this will be inadequate.

MITIGATION
  • We will set up a virtual receptionist system to divert phones appropriately to ensure that maintain existing levels of support and professionalism .

Scenario Planning

What if there is an outbreak in the office that affects key staff?

Head of Technology / Head of Technical Solutions & Support

SERVER MANAGEMENT

Accessing AWS with 2FA for server management.

Possible solution

  • Melontech can help maintain server uptime.
  • We are moving dedicated instances (Medium / Large and XL) to a new supported platform from April 2020.
  • We have monitors on all our sites and servers that are linked to emails, mobiles and instant messaging software for all relevant staff.
  • Our servers are hosted in large scale centres (Amazon AWS) that should be able to continue even with reduced staffing.
  • Senior developer has same level of access to servers as both Head of Technology / Head of Technical Solutions & Support, he also has AWS access.
  • CEO has superuser access to all servers

Doomsday scenario

  • All Melontech knowledge is lost, check if they have a Fat Beehive Confluence knowledge base.  Head of Technical Solutions & Support has asked for a copy of their COVID-19 contingency plans.
LINE MANAGEMENT

Sergiu and Dan are both new to the team and are unfamiliar with our systems, architecture and sites, therefore their ability to produce work would be limited.

Possible solution

  • They have access to tools like Drupalize.me that can help with skills
  • Other developers could help address tasks.

Doomsday scenario

 

  • Head of Technology / Head of Technical Solutions & Support unable to return to work Fat Beehive would need to hire into these positions.

 

PROJECT PLANNING

The Head of Technology and Head of Technical Solutions & Support both have key roles in the development and planning of website builds, from initial meetings with clients to planning the process and components that will be included in the web builds.

Possible solution

  • Senior developer could lead the development planning stage and understand who could be resourced to complete the work.

Doomsday scenario

 

  • All experienced developers are unable to work, we could use freelancers from DevBranch who are familiar with our processes and build methods but this would incur costs and slow the builds.

 

Head of Production

SCHEDULE MANAGEMENT & TIMESHEETING

Head of Production oversees the schedule management for all build projects and paid for amends and service desks.

Possible solution

  • Senior Producer can oversee the scheduling and timesheeting.
UX / DISCOVERY PHASE

Head of Production leads on the UX / Discovery phase of several projects helping to inform the design and development of projects and how they will be built going forward.

Possible solution

  • Head of Creative and Senior Producer have both led UX / Discovery phases. New Digital Strategist role also includes elements of this task, i.e. content planning.
PREDICTED INCOME

Head of Production ensures that the Production team are on top of their tasks and reminds the team to tick invoicing milestones.

Possible solution

  • Senior Producer / Operations Manager can check expected billing milestones and oversee progress.

Operations Manager

PASSWORD / ACCESS CONTROL

Operations Manager has access to all passwords through LastPass and all folders on Google Drive that can be shared with users.

Possible solution

  • Head of technology has a copy of all passwords in LastPass via 1Password.
  • CEO has superuser access on Google Drive and can share folders.
FINANCES

Operations Manager oversees invoicing, bill payments, staff wages, pension contributions and other finance tasks.

Possible solution

  • CEO and Head of Client Partnerships have access to Xero and experience in all tasks.

What if there is an outbreak that affects third party providers

Melontech

Melontech are an external server management company

  • If Melontech staff are unable to work, we would not be able to create new servers, fix / mend current issues.
  • Melontech have the ability to access servers via VPN from anywhere and could work from home if needed.

Possible solution

  • For existing servers we can attempt to fix things that have gone wrong (but this will take longer), in order to get clients sites back up and visible, we could repurpose some of our existing servers to house these other sites.
  • For new builds we could create on another platform that doesn’t require Melontech involvement such as Platform.sh
NORD VPN

NORD VPN allows us and selected contractors to access servers.

  • We currently have 3 dedicated connections which can only be accessed by one person at a time. These are currently used by external developers when making changes to servers and other developers when they are out of the office.

Possible solution

  • If developers are made to work from home we would have to either increase the number of seats available or create a rota for developers to connect.
Lastpass

Due to our password policy we do not reuse passwords or use memorable phrases, all of our sites passwords are stored in LastPass.

  • Without access to LastPass we would be unable to log in to any sites, accounts or production tools.

Possible Solution

  • We have made a copy of all shared sites passwords into 1 Password that Operations Manager and Head of Technology have access to.
Google

Our emails all run through Google and all client production folders are located in Google Drive.

  • It is unlikely Google will be affected, but if it is, we have a range of other messaging tools we can use (e.g. Slack, Jira)

Possible Solution

  • We could make copies of all data to external hard drives or make local copies on machines of folders that we know that we will need to use before working from home.
  • We do not store our mailboxes, but if we were informed that Google was due to stop we would have larger issues to deal with. I.e. NHS would stop working as no internet for public services.
JIRA

We use Jira to oversee all project builds, support requests and documentation linked to sites. We also use Jira Confluence to provide knowledge base articles for all users.

  • Without access to Jira build and production would slow / stop. We use this system to break all build phases down into steps and tasks.
  • We would not be able to retrieve existing service desk tickets, tickets relating to issues on sites in development.

Possible solution

  • We could use the Tech Spec to guide development and production
  • New support requests could be phoned in to the office.
  • Producers could make regular calls to clients to help manage build phases.
Slack

We use Slack for internal communications

  • Not business critical as other communications available.

Possible Solution

  • We could communicate via email or hangout or telephone.
Harvest / Forecast

We use Harvest to time track work on projects and Forecast for scheduling time on projects

  • Without access to scheduling tool producers and devs do not have accurate guide to what projects they are supposed to be working on.

Possible Solution

  • We could time track and schedule in Excel.
  • Users can download team schedules on Fridays when the new schedules are agreed.
Capsule / Intranet

We use Capsule and the Intranet to manage client data and as a repository of information about clients including data such as their server size, name, support tier, analytics account, contact details.

We also use Capsule / Intranet to manage billing milestones for all projects.

  • Without access to the intranet it would be hard to ensure billing milestones are met and invoiced.
  • Intranet / Capsule include centralised depository of information about projects and conversation history.

Possible Solution

  • Producers would need to email Operations Manager with invoicing requests, to include client name, value and description. These could be recorded on a spreadsheet.
  • It may be possible to trace requests via emails, or through Jira.

What if public transport systems are closed to reduce spread of virus.

  • If staff are unable to travel to office as trains, underground and buses are stopped we would all need to work from home.
  • Our telephone system is VOIP and can be repointed to the Operations Manager’s mobile. Messages for staff team can then be shared via email or instant Messenger.
  • Producers can access sites to continue building as all infrastructure is cloud based.

Returning from travel overseas to affected areas

People who have returned from Hubei Province, including Wuhan, Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo in the Republic of Korea, and any area within Italy under containment measures in the last 14 days should avoid attending work. They should call NHS 111 for advice and self-isolate.

Advice is in place for what to do if you have returned in the last 14 days from specified countries or areas which is being updated on an ongoing basis.

If possible to work from home this is the preferred option until risks have been checked.

Recommendations

Fat Beehive would follow our existing Continuity Policy and Plan