Telford & Wrekin Council is to become the first local authority in the country to work with the Health and Safety Executive in a joint pilot project to check that businesses, including manufacturers, have COVID-secure measures in place to help tackle coronavirus.
The council’s public health officers are also working alongside the HSE to support the understanding of any patterns in confirmed coronavirus cases in the area.
During the checks in Stafford Park, Hortonwood and Halesfield from Monday 1 February, businesses will be given advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. Where some businesses are found to not be managing this effectively immediate action will be taken. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they are made safe. Where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
Being COVID-secure means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage the risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus. For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors please read the government guidance.
Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for enforcement, said: “We will be talking to local businesses and visiting and inspecting sites in Stafford Park, Hortonwood and Halesfield to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity.
“Becoming COVID-secure needs to be the priority for all businesses. 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 and protect people from coronavirus. This means making business adjustments to become COVID-secure. We advise employers to work with their employees when implementing changes, to help increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community.”
Previous inspections of businesses conducted separately by HSE and local authority inspectors found some common issues including: 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.
Councillor Overton added: “By ensuring that businesses have measures in place to operate in a COVID-secure way, we can protect the health of the local community as well as support the local and national UK economy.”