WHAT'S NEW - HSE COVID-19 Checks at Workplaces

HSE COVID-19 Checks at Workplaces

by Vandana Thanki

The HSE has contacted approximately 10,000 businesses to investigate if they are COVID-secure, 5,700 spot inspections have been completed and 3,000 COVID enquiries from the public have been dealt with since March 2020.

The HSE is currently working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and others such as the local public health authorities to tackle the rise in coronavirus cases within the area. Inspections are currently being carried out and duty holders and employers screened on the spot to ensure that they are complying with the latest ‘Safer Workplace’ guidance.

Businesses need to be aware that the HSE may call, or come to the workplace to conduct their inspections at any time and colleagues must cooperate and engage with the inspection.

The HSE will take appropriate action if companies are not implementing measures to deal with the risks of the pandemic in the workplace.

Businesses need to put in place workplace adjustments to manage the risk and protect workers from COVID-19. They can do this by following these five steps:

Step 1: Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Step 2: Develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures

Step 3: Take all reasonable steps to help people work from home

Step 4: Maintain 2m social distancing where possible

Step 5: Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk.

HSE is supporting businesses by providing advice and guidance to stay COVID-secure on site.  HSE will take action by providing provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they are safer.  Businesses which fail to comply may be prosecuted.   

Phil Strickland, Principal Inspector of Construction for Greater Manchester, said: “All businesses are in scope for inspections that means any size business in any sector can receive an unannounced inspection to ensure they are COVID-secure. By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support the UK economy.”