Action to be taken against businesses not managing COVID-19 risk, HSE warns

Shortcomings reported by HSE investigators include failing to maintain social distancing and ‘inadequate cleaning’

Employers failing to comply with government guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 could face prosecution, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned.

It says inspectors are “putting employers on the spot” and checking that they are complying with health and safety law through site visits, phone calls and through collection of supporting visual evidence such as photos and video footage.

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.”

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 – and providing access to welfare facilities to allow employees to frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap.

Philip added: “It’s important that workers are aware of the measures that will be put in place to help them work safely.

“All sectors and business of all sizes are in scope for inspections and we will ask questions of duty holders to understand how they are managing risks.

“We understand that the vast majority of employers want to make their workplaces secure and are doing everything they can to keep people and their business safe and healthy.”

HSE has published a generic COVID-19 risk assessment for businesses to meet COVID-19 requirements.

The UK’s automotive aftermarket sector released COVID-19 guidance in May, covering every aspect of workshop operations.

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