Jan 21st, 2021
5 mins

With an increase in the number of coronavirus cases and the national lockdown restrictions now in place, all businesses that continue to operate must ensure their workplace is COVID-secure.
To protect workers, visitors and customers, employers must make sure that everyone is following the measures that have been put in place to manage the risks from coronavirus.

During lockdown, HSE have continued to carry out spot checks and inspections on businesses and will be increasing the number of calls and visits to check COVID-secure measures have been implemented in accordance with government guidance.

During the calls and visits, HSE has provided advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers and visitors, but where businesses are not managing this, we will take immediate action.

In a recent update they have reported that the majority of sites were Covid-secure and the inspectors saw good practices being demonstrated. Notably, from a COVID-secure perspective, provision for access to toilets, handwashing facilities, and rest areas has been particularly good, with arrangements made for visiting drivers to safely access site facilities.

Other good examples of COVID-secure measures that were seen on a number of the sites include:
• Active monitoring (e.g. by COVID marshals) to ensure staff were following procedures.
• Limiting numbers of workers in canteens and break rooms to allow social distancing.
• Provision of COVID-kits to drivers including hand sanitiser and wipes.
• Grouping workers who typically work closely together.
• Providing delivery notes to drivers electronically in their cabs rather than requiring them to visit the
transport office.
• Staggering shift starts to reduce congestion at entry points.
• Rearranging desks and fitting screens in offices so that office workers could work safely.
These demonstrate some novel ways used by businesses to implement COVID-secure measures and manage the risk of transmission for workers, visitors and others.

There were also areas for improvements across some sites, such as poor ventilation in office spaces, lack of a site-specific risk assessment, and hand sanitiser being too far away from workstations to be used regularly. Inspectors also noted a number of workplace transport issues which included:
• Poor marking of pedestrian routes.
• Footpaths being blocked.
• Inadequate controls to prevent vehicle driveaway incidents.
Inspectors provided verbal advice or took enforcement action where there was a serious risk of harm to workers on site. In most cases, issues were quickly resolved during the inspection.

Please ensure your workplace is safe by following the guidance on being COVID-secure. Further information on spot checks and inspections is available on our website.


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