The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is out conducting spot inspections on businesses checking they are working right and are COVID-secure. HSE is checking that businesses are aware of the Safer Workplace guidance and advising where necessary on improvements needed to ensure the workplace is COVID-secure.
HSE works with other public local and national government authorities to support the understanding of any patterns they are finding in workplaces. Inspectors are out and about visiting businesses, putting employers on the spot and checking that they are complying with the latest guidance.
To be COVID-secure mean businesses need to put in place workplace adjustments, keep up to date with the latest guidance and put measures in place to manage the risk and protect workers and others. There are practical steps that businesses can take to do that:
- Step 1. carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
- Step 2. develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures
- Step 3. maintain 2m social distancing where possible
- Step 4. where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk.
HSE said: becoming COVID-secure should be the priority for all businesses. We are talking to duty holders and inspecting sites to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity.
“Employers have a legal duty to protect workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus. We encourage businesses to engage their employees in the changes they put in place to become COVID-secure to increase confidence with workers and in turn customers and the local community.”
As inspections are ongoing, HSE has been utilising a number of different ways to gather intelligence and reach out to businesses with a combination of site visits, phone calls and through collection of supporting visual evidence.
Some of the most common issues that HSE and local authority inspectors are finding across the country include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime – particularly at busy times of the day – and providing access to welfare facilities to allow employees to frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap.
HSE will support businesses by providing advice and guidance; however where some employers are not managing the risk, HSE will take action which can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
HSE continued: “Businesses of all sizes and across all sectors are in scope for inspections. We understand that the vast majority of employers are doing everything they can to keep people and their business safe and healthy.
“Becoming COVID-secure not only benefits the health of our communities and the health of local businesses in Bradford, it benefits the health of the UK economy. Through ensuring that businesses in the area are COVID-secure, we can benefit the health of the nation.”
For the latest information and relevant Safer Workplaces guidance, see www.gov.uk