As concerns related to the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19 and the potential implication for the continuity of service should infection levels increase significantly within the coming weeks and months, we have taken the decision to update our clients on the steps that Cawood Scientific and its divisions (NRM, Sciantec, Sci-Tech and Mambo-Tox) are taking in order to protect our staff from the risk of the infection and to maintain a continuity of service should we be impacted by the spread of the disease.
Sci-Tech Sample Specific Guidance
It is good practise that all samples are sent on the day that they are sampled. In the current circumstances we are stressing that this is critical and we cannot guarantee that samples will be tested in stability time if this does not occur. We also strongly recommend sending samples using special delivery as a minimum. If samples are tested outside of stability then they will not be accredited, nor suitable for regulatory requirements such as the National Control Plan.
Some microbiology samples have a stability time of 24 hours, and although we currently operate a small team to test samples on Saturdays, we won’t be able to guarantee this due to the staffing issues we will likely face. As such, we are also requesting that samples such as this are sampled and sent to us Monday to Thursday so they will be able to be tested within stability.
Cawood Group Company Guidance
We have reviewed government advice and have adopted a three-stage approach to our planning which can be summarised as Prevention, Restriction, and Continuity.
In order to prevent our ‘Cawood’ staff being exposed to the risk of infection by Coronavirus / COVID-19 we have taken the decision to stop all non-essential travel and implemented an absolute restriction on travel to areas with significant levels of infection.
In addition, ‘Cawood Scientific’ have requested their staff to notify their managers of any personal travel arrangements particularly if this means travelling to areas with an elevated risk of infection.
We have provided our staff with information regarding the actions to take to avoid infection such as handwashing etc, and have also reviewed our internal cleaning and housekeeping processes to reduce the risk of person to person infection within our laboratories.
In order to reduce the spread of the virus within our business we have provided our staff with information to allow them to spot the early signs of infection by Coronavirus / COVID-19 and have requested that if there is any reasonable reason to believe that they have contracted the disease or have been exposed to an infected person that they seek medical advice and self-isolate from the work environment until they do not present any risk of infection to their colleagues.
We have reviewed our absence from work polices and taken steps to enable, so far as possible, people to take the option of working from home or adopting alternative working arrangements to facilitate this.
While we are not experiencing any significant problems so far, we are in the process of developing continuity plans for our laboratories in the event that we have significant level of staff absent from work either though illness and the need to self-isolate, or due to the need to care for dependents in the event of school closures etc.
We are undertaking a risk assessment for all of our technical laboratories and are developing plans for these most at risk of continuity problems should widespread Coronavirus / COVID-19 infections occur. These plans include increased shift working, a 7-day working week where required and inter-departmental and inter-laboratory working.
In addition we are working with our key suppliers to ensure that they are also developing continuity plans for this eventuality and currently we have been reassured of their ability to continue with the necessary supplies.
We appreciate that the situation is developing rapidly and consequently we will keep our plans under constant review. We will post further updates should plans change in the future.
We hope that this provides you with some reassurance that Cawood Scientific is taking the necessary steps to ensure a continuity of service but if you require any further information please contact us in the usual manner.