Spot checks will make sure businesses are COVID-secure
Efforts to tackle COVID-19 in the workplace will be under the spotlight in the coming days, as government inspectors contact local businesses to check they have COVID-secure measures in place.
From next week, Cherwell District Council will be working in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in a new approach to carrying out spot checks across north Oxfordshire. The partners will be providing advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors.
Councillor Andrew McHugh, Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We will be visiting businesses in Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington and the surrounding villages. The aim is to understand how they are managing risks, in line with their specific business activities. It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk of the virus. We believe that most businesses are doing their best to get COVID measures right.”
Previous spot checks have found the majority of businesses are endeavouring to follow the government guidance and have taken a number of steps to control the risk from COVID-19.
However, HSE and council officers are finding some common issues across a range of sectors. These include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing; and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime, particularly at busy times of the day.
Relevant enforcement action can range from the provision of specific advice to issuing enforcement notices or stopping certain work practices until they are made safe. Where businesses fail to comply with legal requirements following advice, they could risk prosecution.
Cllr McHugh added: “All businesses are in scope for spot checks and our new arrangement with HSE will now allow us to reach even more of them. By making sure that workplaces have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support the local economy.”
For further information on how to manage the risk of COVID-19 in different business sectors please read the government guidance. For the latest information and safer business guidance, visit www.gov.uk.
Anyone with concerns about COVID-secure measures in the workplace can contact the council at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01295 227990.