Our Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID – 19)

posted in: Acer Ecology | 0

Information and Guidance

In light of uncertainty around COVID-19, we want to reassure our clients and our staff that their welfare is paramount – and will always be put first. 

We understand that clients will have concerns and questions regarding the pandemic and how it will impact their projects. This statement is based upon advice from Government and the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management.

Current Statement – 15/08/2020

Acer Ecology Ltd are continuing to operate as we are able to do this in accordance with government guidance. We will continue to undertake existing and new engagements for the following work:

  • On-site Ecological Supervision (risk assessed on a site by site basis)
  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisals
  • Great Crested Newt and Reptile Surveys
  • Bat Surveys – Dusk Emergence and Dawn Re-entry Surveys
  • Bat Surveys – Preliminary Roost Assessments (PRAs)

We are able to undertake Preliminary Roost Assessments (PRAs) whereby we can enter both residential and occupied building with appropriate measures taken to reduce risks of transmission.

We are not undertaking on-site ecological supervision where the risk cannot be suitably managed.

We are monitoring the latest information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) very closely, and following the guidance of Public Health England and Wales, CIEEM and the UK Government. 

We have undertaken detailed Risk Assessments for all aspects of our work, assessed as follows:

  • Fieldwork Requiring Overnight Accommodation (Very High Risk);
  • Preliminary Roost Assessments (PRAs) – Homeowner (Moderate Risk);
  • On-site Ecological Supervision (Moderate Risk);
  • Great Crested Newt Surveys (Moderate Risk) (Local sites only/no double handling of bottle traps by different ecologists);
  • Re-fuelling at petrol stations (Moderate Risk);
  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (Low Risk);
  • Preliminary Roost Assessments (PRAs) – Unoccupied Buildings (Low Risk);
  • Reptile Surveys (Low Risk);
  • Dusk Emergence and Dawn Re-entry Surveys (Low Risk); and
  • Office Work at Home (Very Low Risk).

In most instances, we consider there to be manageable risk of our work putting our staff or clients at risk of contracting COVID-19. This decision has been taken based on the following steps that we have taken as a business:   

  • All of our staff are working from home and are social distancing;
  • Staff are quarantining for 14 days if they are returning from an area not exempt from Foreign and Commonwealth oddice advice for only ‘essential travel’ .
  • Increasing communication on protective measures and good hygiene practice (e.g. regular hand washing for at least twenty seconds) to all our staff;
  • Extensive use of PPE during site work (overalls, gloves, Sundström masks etc.);
  • Soap/hand cleansers, alcohol wipes are available for all staff;
  • Regularly wiping car door handles, steering wheel and hand brake before leaving sites;
  • Using disposable gloves at petrol stations;
  • Minimising touch points whilst on site;
  • Cancellation of all external meetings/use of Zoom for meetings;
  • Accepting all payments by online bank transfer (BACS). We are unfortunately not able to accept payment by cheque at the moment due to risks of handling cheques, and also not wanting to visit our bank branch to pay these in as this would expose our staff and other members of the public to unnecessary risk.

Whilst on site we will:

  • Ask all clients and relevant parties to complete a risk assessment at the point of instruction to ensure exposure risks are minimised;
  • Maintain a distance from at least 2m (ideally 3m or more) from other workers and clients;
  • Abstain from any unnecessary physical contact e.g. handshakes etc.;
  • Will not share transport and will only travel to site in separate vehicles;
  • Take as much food and drink from home as possible to avoid having to buy food and drink from shops and takeaway restaurants (which may well not be available/ open) and risking poor hygiene handling.
  • Will not share equipment e.g. bat detectors and staff will have their own detector for the entire field survey season;
  • Avoid overnight hotel stays; and
  • We have identified staff at higher risk from COVID-19 or colleagues that have vulnerable people at home and we are limiting their exposure to high risk situations.

 What can you do to help?

The following measures will help protect you and our staff during on-site work. Please follow the guidance below to protect yourselves and others from any infection:

  • Employing social distancing and self-isolating measures and washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Ensuring that whilst on site you remain at least 2m, and preferably 3m, apart from our staff at all times, and try to minimise engaging in discussions about our work as far as possible. Ideally communicate information about the building such as the location of loft hatches etc. prior to our attendance on site so that conversations about the work on site can be minimised and subsequently followed up by e-mail;
  • Please notify us by email that you wish to cancel the fieldwork/survey if you or other members of your household have been feeling in any way unwell, have recently been in contact with anybody who has been unwell, or if they, or anybody else they’ve visited a country and territory which is not exempt from advise from advice against all but essential travel by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
  • Let us know if you or other members of your household who will be present on site during surveys are members of a vulnerable group. If this is the case it is unlikely to be appropriate to undertake the survey; and
  • Complete the client declaration Coronavirus form (this will be sent to you along with our quotation).

We hope you fully understand the necessity for these measures and apologise for any inconvenience they cause. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we do everything we can to protect our staff and the wider public and minimise any risk of transmission in relation to COVID-19.

The national and international situation is changing quickly and we strongly encourage all clients stay up-to-date on the current and accurate information from the Government website. 

UK Government Advice

Advice is also available from the following: 

NHS

Public Health Wales/England

CIEEM

Stay In Touch 

If you have any concerns about Coronavirus please revisit this webpage for our latest statement as this will be revised as the situation develops.

We are confident, based on current information and the steps we are taking, that our business can continue to operate while minimising the risk to our staff, clients, contractors and the wider public. However, we are closely monitoring the situation, and will keep our position under continuous review.