Last reviewed 3 July 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has called on businesses in Britain to make sure they’re Covid-secure as more sectors were preparing to open their doors for the weekend of 4 July 2020.

The health and safety watchdog said, “Being Covid-secure means being adaptable to the current guidance and putting measures in place to control the risk of coronavirus to protect workers and others.”

The HSE has highlighted the following five practical steps that businesses can take to become Covid-secure.

  • Step 1: Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment in line with HSE guidance

  • Step 2: Develop increased cleaning, handwashing 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.

With inspections 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 such as photos and video footage.

Some of the most common issues that HSE and local authority inspectors are finding 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

  • failing to provide access to welfare facilities to allow employees to frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap.

The HSE says it will support businesses by providing advice and guidance. However, where some employers are not managing the risk, HSE will take action — ranging from the provision of specific advice, to issuing enforcement notices or stopping certain work practices until they are made safe. Where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.

Philip White, Director of Regulation at HSE said, “Becoming Covid-secure should be the priority for all businesses. By law, employers have a duty to protect workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus.”