H&S spot-checks to be carried out on Bristol businesses

Thursday July 29, 2021

The Coronavirus pandemic has been responsible for the closure of a large number of businesses in Bristol and beyond. But as lockdown eases and restrictions lift, some normality is returning. Now, all business premises and workplaces must make sure that they are ‘COVID-secure.’

So what does COVID-secure really mean?

This depends to some extent on the nature of the premises. For example, an office will have to do some things differently to a factory. All premises will need to complete a Covid-19 risk assessment to identify any situations that may contribute to the spread of the virus and how these can be controlled/removed.

HSE and Council combine forces

To ensure that this is happening in Bristol, Public Protection teams from Bristol City Council are working in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to carry out COVID-secure spot checks. They will initially be focusing on areas and businesses where concerns about COVID safety have already been identified. 

The spot checks will be carried out predominantly at premises where there may be sharing of tools or equipment, multiple people handling goods, or where employees have to work in close proximity to each other. Examples of such businesses include warehouses, offices, factories, and tyre/exhaust centres.

All protocols and protection measures will be checked during the spot checks – as will risk assessments. The spot checks are there to make sure that businesses are doing what they need in order to keep their staff, customers and other stakeholders safe. 

Concerns and further actions

If concerns are identified during the spot checks, a further site visit or follow-up call will be scheduled and the HSE will pass the matter to council enforcement teams if they need to. The council can then carry out their own inspection if deemed necessary.

Businesses in Bristol that are not deemed to be sufficiently managing the risks associated with Covid-19 will be given clear and specific advice and told they must make immediate changes. Those who fail to comply may be given enforcement notices prohibiting certain work practices until they have been made safer. Prosecution is a final option that may be considered, should businesses continue to fail to comply.

In addition to spot checks, the project includes phone calls and informal visits to businesses in order to ascertain the level of awareness around COVID guidance and control measures. 

Where can businesses improve?

Common areas identified for improvement already include cleaning regimes, hygiene practices, and the management of measures such as social distancing, extra ventilation and use of face-coverings. For further advice, contact us.

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