The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently launched its Work Right campaign with the aim of getting businesses thinking about health and safety, and how it applies within their individual workplaces. Spot inspections are also being carried out to ensure businesses are complying with COVID-secure guidance.
The HSE’s Work Right campaign has been put in place to maximise participation and compliance in workplace risk management. The campaign combines practical advice with simple suggested actions that can be taken to manage all relevant risks at work, including those posed by the coronavirus. The campaign has a single call to action: to share what your organisation is doing to manage workplace risks, and make your business COVID-secure.
How Work Right will benefit businesses during the pandemic
Over the past few months, as the pandemic took hold, businesses faced a number of challenges as it became necessary to adapt to a new working environment, with very little time to get used to the changes.
The HSE is seeking to provide the support and guidance everyone needs to get through these troubled times courtesy of Work Right, a campaign that brings together a range of industry sectors, unions, professional bodies and organisations, sharing best practice and practical advice so that every member of every workforce is able to go home healthy at the end of the working day.
Workplace illness or injury can have far-reaching consequences for everyone involved, from the victim and their family through to colleagues, the wider workforce and the business as a whole. Disruption often ensues, and reputations can be damaged. Costs can spiral too.
What’s worse, in a pandemic situation, the issues can be considerably multiplied where numerous businesses are facing the same problems. This can result in entire industries, and even the nation as a whole, becoming less competitive and attractive for investment.
How do HSE COVID-secure inspections work?
HSE inspectors are conducting random workplace checks to ensure businesses are complying with the COVID-secure guidance. Duty holders will be put on the spot and asked to present evidence of the measures that have been put in place to deal specifically with the risks posed by the coronavirus.
The approach taken by the inspectors will evolve as workplaces across different industry sectors find their way around managing the coronavirus risks that are relevant to them. Where it is identified that employers are not adequately managing the risks, enforcement action will be taken. This may include:
- Providing specific guidance
- Issuing enforcement notices
- Putting a stop to non-compliant working practices until they are made safe
Prosecution may be a possibility where businesses fail to comply following any of the above measures.
The HSE has recently been focusing its attention on geographical areas where rises in workplace COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported. Such areas include Swindon, Greater Manchester, Blackburn and Bolton and Trafford.
What does ‘COVID-secure’ mean?
To be COVID-secure, businesses must make workplace adjustments. They must also keep fully up to date with all the latest guidance, and put measures in place to manage the risks identified during the COVID-19 risk assessment.
There are five practical steps that businesses can take in order to be COVID-secure:
- Conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment.
- Develop enhanced cleaning, hand-washing and hygiene procedures.
- Take all reasonable steps to help staff to work from home.
- Maintain two metres social distancing where possible.
- Where people cannot maintain a two metre social distance, take other steps to manage the risk of transmission.
The HSE reports that inspectors have been discovering a number of common issues across a range of sectors. These include:
- Failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing.
- Failing to introduce a sufficient cleaning regime, especially during busy times.
- Failing to provide access to welfare facilities so that workers can wash their hands with warm water and soap whenever they need to.
Simon Chilcott, HSE Principal Inspector, said: “If you are a business or organisation that is open anywhere in the UK you must ensure you have the right workplace adjustments in place to safeguard your workers from coronavirus infection. HSE are combining a range of tactics to ensure they can check as many businesses as possible so if you get a phone call or a visit from HSE you must engage in the spot inspection process.
“We are also encouraging all employers to work with their employees when implementing changes to become COVID-secure and guiding them to the right information on how to do this.
“Our inspectors could call unannounced at any business in any sector so please make sure your workplace is COVID-secure and measures are in place to manage any risks. That way it will benefit the health of workers, customers and the local community while supporting the regional and national economy.”
What happens when a HSE inspector calls?
This video is helpful if you’d like to know what to expect when a HSE inspector calls:
For the latest information on COVID-19, and Safer Workplaces guidance, visit www.gov.uk.
Here to help
Please always be assured that team RG is here to support you through the pandemic situation. If you have any questions, you are welcome to get in touch with your regular contact.