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21st April 2020

Statement Confirms Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to Enforce COVID-19 Control Measures

As reported in our blog article on COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace being reportable under RIDDOR 2013, the HSE has now issued an email confirming that organisations identified as not conforming to current guidance on social distancing will have action taken against them.

These actions can range from the HSE providing specific advice on systems to be implemented, through to enforcement notices being issued, including prohibition notices.

It is vital that employers keep abreast of the recommended control measures to reduce workplace outbreaks of, or exposure to, COVID-19.

The full statement, which has been jointly released by the HSE, Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reads as follows:

This is an extremely worrying time for firms and workers. We know many workers, union reps and employers have questions and concerns about safe working – especially for those continuing to work away from home.

This joint statement between the Health and Safety Executive, the TUC and the CBI is intended to clarify the position. The health and safety of workers remains paramount. Employers must continue to provide workers with information about risks to their health and the actions their employers must take.

Social distancing is a key public health measure introduced by Public Health England to reduce the spread of infection. Most employers are going to great lengths to ensure social distancing wherever possible. The HSE, CBI and TUC wish to publicly support these efforts. Firms that can safely stay open and support livelihoods should not be forced to close by misunderstandings about government guidance.

But if it comes to the HSE’s attention that employers are not complying with the relevant Public Health England guidance (including enabling social distancing where it is practical to do so), HSE will consider a range of actions ranging from providing specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices, including prohibition notices.

Where a worker has a genuine concern about health and safety which cannot be resolved through speaking with their employer or trade union, they should contact the relevant enforcement agency – either their local authority or the HSE through https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm

For firms who are unsure about the guidance, please visit https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/social-distancing-coronavirus.htm

Should you be concerned about control measures in your business and would like guidance on the procedures required for your specific operations, Lighthouse would be happy to provide our advice and support.

Please contact info@lighthouseriskservices.co.uk or call 0845 459 1724 for assistance.

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