COVID spot checks set to continue as lockdown eases
As the UK Government continues through the roadmap out of lockdown, the HSE Executive is not taking its foot off the gas in regards to spot inspections, with visits set to continue in 2021.
With the UK opening up and the threat of new variants spreading, the Health and Safety Executive is keen to continue the running of spot inspections on business to ensure that they are following COVID-19 guidances. These can include anything from the proper handwashing facilities to a reasonable oneway system.
All types of businesses are being inspected
The HSE Executive is continuing to work with local authorities to carry out spot inspections on businesses to ensure that they are complying with the current guidelines and regulations around the management of COVID-19 risks. These include companies that have recently opened and those that have run throughout the pandemic.
Whilst spot inspectors will use their discretion to work out where effort has been made to follow the guidelines, in situations where the attempt has not been good enough action will be taken. This can include fines and prosecution.
Other forms of action that could take place include the enforcement of stop-work notices or the banning of certain kinds of work within the environment.
If you fail to comply with the guidelines you are not only putting your business at risk but also the lives of your workers and the wider public.
As an employer, you have a duty of care to your workforce and this extends to the minimising of COVID-19 risks within the workplace. The HSE has provided guidance on what you need to do.
Guidance from the UK HSE Executive
- Risk assessment: every workplace should have a COVID risk assessment. Update it to reflect any changes in legislation or guidance that may impact your work activity.
- Social distancing: where possible you should keep people two metres apart. If this is not viable, keeping one metre apart with risk mitigation, such as screens, is acceptable.
- Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing: keeping your workplace clean reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread. It is a critical part of making and keeping your business COVID-secure.
- Ventilation and air conditioning: can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
- Talk to workers: provide information about providing support and maintaining control measures.
- Working from home: provide the equipment they need, keep in regular contact and discuss their wellbeing.
- Vulnerable workers: talk to staff, provide information and consider the risk to workers who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus – putting controls in place to reduce that risk.
"As we come out of lockdown, we are continuing to work with local authorities to check businesses are COVID-secure and providing guidance and advice where needed.”
: Angela Storey, Director of Transformation and Operational Services at HSE"