With those businesses whose employees are unable to work from home, and are now returning to their workplaces, it is a good time to remind everyone of the steps needed to reduce the risk from COVID-19 and the risks to your business.
Recent figures released by HSE show that between 26th May to 2nd July they carried out what they term “spot checks” at 2,386 businesses across all sectors.
Of these, some 295 needed follow-up checks and 41 are subject to ongoing investigation.
A spokesperson for HSE said: “Putting duty holders on the spot, and checking on how they are managing risks, has always been part of our regulatory approach. This has continued to be the case throughout the pandemic” and “This will continue as more businesses return to work.”
Some of the most common issues that HSE found include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime and failing to provide access to welfare facilities to allow employees to frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap.
“Becoming COVID-secure should be the priority for all businesses”
To do this, they advise organisations to take 5 simple steps:
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in line with HSE guidance
- Develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures
- Take all reasonable steps to help people work from home
- Maintain 2m social distancing where possible
- Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk
At present, the HSE have halted the release of current RIDDOR statistics relating to the coronavirus pandemic whilst they refine their procedures for collating the statistics. At the beginning of May, however, they reported that there had been 198 Dangerous Occurrence and 71 Fatal Disease reports across all industries.
There are already companies lining themselves up to handle personal injury claims, and whilst an initial case of COVID-19 would be difficult to lay at the door of an employer, a second or more may be easier if the five steps haven’t been implemented.