Getting Back To Business Safely During the
Covid 19 Pandemic

Coalesce has always operated as a remote working company, except where site visits to cover events and shoots were necessary. As per the Government’s ‘Stay at Home’ strategy in the battle against Covid 19 in 2020, Coalesce had ceased attending client sites and changed it’s trading methods to enable it’s staff to shoot video remotely and also review remote possibilities for clients who needed photography. Now as the Government has reopened the economy Coalesce has reviewed it’s Return to Business Policy with a view to attending client sites again.

Covid 19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. it is caused by a virus called Corona Virus Covid 19. The pandemic has had an effect on all businesses including public relations and all related events.

The aim of this document is to consolidate the detailed plans and significant measures being put in place by Coalesce management to operate the business safely while maintaining the safety and welfare of colleagues, business partners and clients. This document in conjunction with the HSA return to work safely templates and the Coalesce risk assessment document forms Coalesce’s ‘Getting Back to Business Safely Plan.

The Government of Ireland have issued specific guidance on working with Covid throughout the pandemic, the most recent being the ‘Work Safely Protocol in November 2021. This baseline document has been used in conjunction with policies and procedures put in place by group management to update our Covid Business plan and may be updated using version control as public health provides updated advice and we navigate through the various stages of reopening the economy in accordance with the Government advice.

About Corona Virus Covid 19

Symptoms of the coronavirus can take anything from 2 to 14 days for symptoms to appear. They are similar to symptoms of cold and flu. Some people can be infected but asymptomatic and experience no symptoms at all.

A full list of symptoms is available on the HSE website but can include:
  • A fever (high temperature- 38 degrees celsius or above
  • A new cough- this can be any kid of cough not just dry
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Aches and pains or tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • headache

You may not have all of these symptoms, or your symptoms may be mild. Symptoms may vary for different age groups or variants of the virus. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. If you are in doubt about any symptoms you have, phone your GP.

For the complete list of symptoms, please refer to the HSE Website (

How Covid 19 Spreads

COVID-19 is mainly spread through close contact and droplets that come from your nose and mouth. For example, from someone who is talking loudly, shouting, coughing or sneezing. This happens most when people are less than 2 metres from each other. It is why keeping a 2-metre distance from other people is so effective in reducing the spread of the virus.
You can also get the virus from surfaces. For example, when someone who has the virus sneezes or coughs, droplets with the virus can fall onto surfaces around them. If you touch that surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you could become infected too. Airborne transmission is the spread of a virus in very tiny respiratory particles. This can happen over a longer distance and persist for a longer time than droplets, such as within a room. To minimise this risk, keep indoor spaces well ventilated (aired out) by opening windows and doors if possible.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) can survive:
  • up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel
  • less than 4 hours on copper
  • less than 24 hours on cardboard

Common household disinfectants will kill the virus on surfaces. Clean the surface first and then use a disinfectant. A system of thorough and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in the workplace is essential. For example, vending machines, coffee machines and door handles should all be cleaned frequently, as they can be particular sources of transmission. If disinfection is required, it must be performed in addition to cleaning, never as a substitute for cleaning. Please refer to section on Cleaning below for further details.

Current information suggests that infected people can transmit the virus both when they are symptomatic (showing symptoms) and asymptomatic (showing no symptoms). This is why it is essential that anyone who is showing symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case, should be tested. Research has also now identified specific types of working environments where the spread of COVID-19 is more likely to occur, often due to environmental factors.

For example, there have been reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in some closed space settings, such as meat processing plants, nightclubs, places of worship, restaurants, and workplaces where people may be shouting or talking loudly. In these outbreaks, airborne transmission (specifically in indoor locations that are densely populated and inadequately ventilated) cannot be ruled out. In these high-risk environments, a greater level of adherence by employers and workers to the specific public health advice for such settings is required.

Covid -19 Response Team

A Covid Response Team was put in place at Coalesce. The Covid Response Management Coordinator for the group is Orla Murray (Group HR team) supported by Shane O’ Neill and Grainne Doyne. Orla is responsible for managing compliance across the company however this does not substitute the personal responsibility of creative business partners and members of the platform.

Training on the requirements and special measures for returning to work safely has been provided. Training in the use of PPE has taken place online through WHO and HSE training presentations. Staff members have completed the certified HSA online course ‘Return to Work Safely Induction’. Lead worker representative Orla Murray has completed the HSA ‘Lead Worker’ course

All business partners and staff must maintain an up to date contact trace document.

COVID-19 Return to Work Form
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, every worker or creative partner must complete and sign this form before returning to work or attending a client site or a statement form supplied by the client.
On review of the form, management may contact you and ask you not to return to work or attend the client site immediately and will discuss a suitable future date for your return. N.B. Every question must be answered.

Risk Review
Coalesce has engaged in many discussions and brainstorming activities to come up with a detailed plan to resume safely returning to work. In order to safely return to work and ensure compliance with the government directives the Coalesce business was broken down into 3 main scenarios for review and assessment.
  • Scenario 1 – Work from Home (employees only)
  • Scenario 2 – Jobs outdoors
  • Scenario 3 – Jobs onsite or at location
Each scenario was reviewed in the context of their current arrangements or processes, risks identified and controls or changes to the processes that should be undertaken to mitigate the risks.

As Covid-19 is a new virus to humans with little scientific publication and severity of the illness can range from mild to death the risks could not be adequately assessed for likelihood of transmission and severity. Therefore, the risk identification tool used does not include an analysis component. Instead, the risks identified have been based
on known potential for transmission and non-compliance with current Public health advice, e.g. physical distancing.

Risk Assessment Strategy

Coalesce has adopted a risk management strategy to identify and assess risks of transmission within our process. The main steps of our Corona Virus Covid-19 Risk Assessment programme include;

1. Risk identification: Risk Identification is performed by examining the facilities and processes in place through the use of visual inspection, brainstorming and the study of operational procedures and documentation. To facilitate the identification of these risks in some cases process flows have been devised and correlated with time.

2. Mitigation, Minimisation & Treatment of Risk: All risks identified will be considered so as to enhance our processes or environment and minimise potential transmission risks. There are three options for treating identified risks:

(1) Reduce the likelihood of the occurrence

(2) Reduce the impact of the occurrence by putting in place more controls or by modifying the process.

(3) Otherwise the risk could be eliminated by removing the source of the risk.

3. Training & Communication: Communication is critical to this risk assessment. While performing these assessments, the assessment team were provided with opportunity to feed into the risk assessment and identify and discuss the treatment options. The CEO and Director of Operations will ultimately sign-off on the risk assessment and measures being implemented to safeguard patients and staff.

4. Risk Monitoring: Monitoring and treatment of risks is an ongoing process to ensure that the risk level remains the same and that the controls implemented continue to be effective. As this is a new virus the information public health advice will change over time and therefore the risks will need to be reviewed regularly.
Risks are to be continually monitored as the business settles into the new procedures. Mitigation steps may not be sufficient in practice or may be considered unnecessary as other opportunities for process refinement are identified over time or as public health advice changes.

Key changes:

A contact tracing register and a return to work self-declaration form have been created. These will be used by all staff and business partners to log all contact and verify they are fit to work. The following controls have also been put in place and will be reviewed regularly. In the case of scenario 3 each event will be assessed separately to determine if further actions are required in addition to the actions below.

Scenario 1- Shared office space:

  • All staff remote working
  • Meeting held via phone or online call
  • Contact log register filled out daily
  • Regular Hand washing

Scenario 2 - Jobs Outdoors

-       Ensure social distancing can be maintained

-       Submission of F025 RTW Covid 19 form pre event by employees and business partners or Client RTW form.

-       Do not share or pass equipment to anyone on site or if unavoidable disinfect hands after doing so.

-       Use private transport to attend site

-       Follow respiratory and good hygiene

-       Have a PPE and hygiene kit with you at all times

-       Use Hand sanitiser regularly during site visit

-       Use of face mask in line with Government guidelines if congested outdoor site and 2m social distancing cannot be maintained.

Scenario 3- Jobs on Client sites:

-  Submission of F025 RTW Covid 19 form pre event by business partner or staff or Client RTW form.

- Use  Covid-19 booking procedure, pre planning for:

-       Entry and exit points

-       Touch points

-       Setup of the shoot

-       The number of people on site

-       Managing the flow of people

-       Assess the need for PPE

-       Consideration of client Covid-19 protocols in relation to planning the booking

-       Hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser.

-       Have a PPE and hygiene kit with you at all times

-       Use of face mask in line with Government guidelines.

-       Use private transport to attend the site

-       Understand protocol if symptomatic on client site

-       If you must enter a client’s premises on arrival the staff member or business partner must register to record their visit.

-       They must bring and use their own pen and not use a public one.

-       They must use the hand sanitiser on entering the building taking care to use their elbow to press any button or foot to open door where possible. Ideally the client will have opened the doors to clear the entrance route.

-       If using a lift do not share the lift with anyone else.

-       If possible use the stairs.

-       If you come in contact with surfaces use a hand sanitiser to disinfect your hands.

-       Do not touch your face, eyes, mouth or nose with your hands.

-       If there is a designated room, set up in it alone.

-       When ready to shoot then let the client know the subject can come in.

-       Maintain a 2m distance at all times and do not remain in the room together any longer than is necessary.

Coalesce has committed to make as many changes as required to meet the return to work protocol issued by our governing bodies. We will also monitor any new procedures implemented to ensure they are fit for purpose and make amendments where required and ensure that these controls are communicated to our staff and clients.

Use of Antigen Diagnostic Tests (ADTs) and Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests (RADTs)

As noted above the best way to prevent the spread of covid-19 in any setting is to wear masks/coverings, practice physical distancing, adopt proper hand hygiene, follow respiratory etiquette and increase ventilation and get vaccinated.

·       As an additional check Coalesce has implemented using RADT tests once a week to try to “find” cases of Covid.

·       These checks will only apply to staff who attend client sites and not staff working remotely from home.

·       RADT’s will be self-administered at home.

·       If a positive RADT is identified staff will follow up with a PCR test to confirm.

·       RADTs will be supplied by Coalesce and not bought by individual staff


HSE Covid -19 spread and symptoms

Government Roadmap for reopening

HSE Hand Hygiene

WHO- Use of fabric and medical masks