The HSE to Continue Carrying Out Safety Inspections on UK Businesses
With different parts of the UK now being put into various tiers in an attempt to control the coronavirus pandemic from spiralling out of control again, there is some confusion about how the new rules might affect businesses across the country.
Thankfully, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that they intend to carry on with their COVID-compliance checks on British firms, giving them the chance to inform businesses of their duties in this matter.
The Basic Details
This week has seen it confirmed that Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire will move into the tier three level of lockdown, meaning tighter restrictions on the people that live there. Among the new rules, pubs and bars need to close unless they have a substantial food offering, with the rule of six imposed in certain outdoor settings.
The third tier is designed to cover “very high” risk areas and avoid the need to move into another devastating lockdown. Specific rules have been imposed in some areas, with South Yorkshire to close its betting shops, gym classes and adult gaming centres, although gyms themselves will remain open.
In industries such as construction, workers and bosses have been anxious to find out whether this change affects them in any way. The truth is that construction workers can continue as before provided that they follow the existing guidelines on staying safe.
This applies to work carried out at client homes as well as on sites. Naturally, the construction industry has the added complication of complying with their existing safety guidelines on issues such as working at height, handling machinery or in the manufacturing process of CE marked fabrications.
Meanwhile, Scotland is expected to move onto a tiered structure similar to England at the start of November, while Wales has moved into a national “firebreak” lockdown until 9 November and Northern Ireland’s citizens have recently had new restrictions imposed upon them.
What Are the HSE Doing?
This national body has confirmed that they will continue to carry out safety inspections all over the UK, to ensure that everyone is still complying with the current advice on matters such as hygiene facilities and social distancing measures.
The HSE will be carrying out unannounced spots checks and inspections on every kind of company and in every region of the country, to complete their risk assessments. They have stated that this includes thousands of visits and phone calls where they will give the latest advice on protecting workers and customers.
They have already created an explanatory video that lets business owners see how the HSE can help them to stay safe, and showing them in advance what the spot inspections will involve.
In addition, the HSE has been carrying out spot checks at schools in Scotland, to make sure that the current guidance is being followed in this respect too. They stated that some of the good practice ideas they came across included staggered start times and coloured spots on points that were touched regularly.