Starting this week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), working with East Suffolk Council and other Suffolk councils, will be speaking to businesses to offer guidance and advice on how they can manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors from COVID-19.
All of Suffolk’s district councils, working together as part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum’s Safer Places Group, have agreed to work in partnership with the HSE to enable them to support thousands of businesses more quickly through a targeted approach.
Both the HSE and the councils are also working alongside local public health authorities to support the understanding of any patterns in confirmed coronavirus cases in the area.
David Collinson, the lead for the Safer Places Group said:
“We are talking to local businesses and inspecting sites in and around Suffolk to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity. Many will already have the correct measures in place, but equally others may welcome a bit more help to ensure they are doing all that they can to protect their staff, customers, visitors and ultimately their business.
“Becoming COVID-secure must be a priority for all businesses in Suffolk. 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 does require adjustments and we advise employers to work with their employees when implementing changes, to help increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community.
“All businesses are in scope for spot checks which means businesses of any size, in any sector can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are COVID-secure. By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support the local and national UK economy.”
The checks, which will be by telephone but with follow up visits where required, will see the HSE give advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors but where some businesses are not managing this, action will be taken. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors please read the Government guidance at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19