Residential WWOOFing during Covid-19

Jul 7, 2020

A host’s guide to risk assessment

Why?

Arranging a WWOOF exchange during this emergency means that all parties involved need to take steps to avoid the transmission of the Covid-19 virus. This should include assessing the risk in all foreseeable circumstances of the exchange. How you do this is ultimately a decision for you, but WWOOF feels that preparing a simple written risk assessment is good practice which will help you focus on and identify areas that need attention. Once completed, it can be shared with potential WWOOFers to give them added confidence in the safety of their visit. Remember, this process is designed to help you with decision-making and not be another piece of bureaucracy.

While government restrictions vary within the four countries of the UK, transmission of the virus and steps to prevent this are universal.

How?

Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns. In the left hand column list the risks you perceive; in the right hand column list the actions necessary to mitigate the risk. That simple.

What should it cover?

Everything which will happen from a WWOOFer’s arrival to their departure (including, for example, their arrival at a station, pick-ups from the station).

No two hosts have the same arrangements and you know your own establishment best. Where WWOOFers have self-contained accommodation considerations will be very different to where they live in your house. So the following check list is not exhaustive and some of it may not apply to you.

Domestic:
Sleeping accommodation – access, cleaning, is it shared?
Washing and toilet facilities
Meals– preparation, serving, seating arrangements, clearing up
Laundry – use of washing machine
Access to other areas of the house
Travel – for example, will the WWOOFer need to travel in your vehicle?

Working:
Maintaining social distancing – layout of work area, instruction/supervision
Tools and equipment – sharing? cleaning, PPE
First aid – if this becomes necessary, protection for casualty and first-aider.

REMEMBER – if anyone becomes symptomatic all will need to isolate, arrange testing and notify the appropriate national tracking authority. How will this impact on your working and domestic routines?

A lot to think about, but with a little extra care WWOOFing can once more be a productive and enjoyable experience.

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