The move follows a government announcement from the prime minister Boris Johnson promising the body would carry out “spot inspections” to make sure businesses were safe places to work.
The HSE stopped carrying out routine inspections after the lockdown announcement in March, despite some essential businesses such as food manufacturing continuing to operate.
No enforcement notices relating to COVID-19 have been issued by the HSE, but a spokesman insisted that on “many occasions” after it started looking into complaints, firms took action that meant enforcement notices were not needed. These included the firms demonstrating they were in fact complying with appropriate rules when inspected, that measures had been taken to improve standards since the complaint, or that the companies had suspended their business before any action could be taken against them.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced the HSE could access extra funding of up to £14m, which could be used for “extra call-centre employees, inspectors and equipment”. The HSE spokesman said the organisation was putting together plans on how to use the money to help “manage this unprecedented health risk”.
It confirmed that the HSE has responded to around 5000 workplace concerns and is inspecting some workplaces in response. This will continue as more businesses return to work.