HSE increases COVID spot checks in areas where new variant is found
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is supporting the work to stop the spread of the new Variant of Concern by increasing COVID spot checks across the North West and in Bedford where increased levels of the new variant have been seen.
Surge spot checks will occur in the following areas:
Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Chorley, Hyndburn, Manchester, Pendle, Preston and Sefton.
This is in addition to the spot checks and inspections already being carried out as we come out of lockdown and more businesses open-up.
We are carrying out the spot checks by calling businesses to check they have COVID-secure measures in place to manage the risk of Coronavirus to keep workers, visitors and customers safe.
During the calls we look to work with businesses and provide guidance and advice where required but, where businesses aren’t managing the risk, action will be taken. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they are made safe. Where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
Angela Storey, Director of Transformation and Operational Services at HSE, said: “HSE is focussing spot checks in areas where transmission rates for the new Variant of Concern are rising. This is to help the national effort to combat the recent rise in cases and to stop it from spreading further.
“We are carrying out this focussed approach to check businesses have COVID-secure measures in place that are in accordance with government guidance.
“It is really important to ensure your business has COVID-secure measures in place to stop workplace transmission of the virus and keep workers safe. It will also help to keep businesses operating and will benefit the local economy.”
The COVID-secure measures businesses should have in place include:
- 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 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.