There are certain key updates from the HSE at this unprecedented time:
- RIDDOR- A report regarding coronavirus need only be made under RIDDOR in the following circumstances:
- An unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
- A worker has been diagnosed as having the virus and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
- Home Working- Many more people are now working from home due to the lockdown. A risk assessment for home working will be required and employers should be aware that they have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as any other worker.
- Road Transport-There are two major health and safety issues relating to coronavirus for this vital industry. Firstly, drivers must have access to welfare facilities and it will not be lawful for customers to deny them access. Secondly, the driver’s hours rules have been temporarily relaxed to ensure key supplies are maintained. More about the latter tomorrow.
- HSE approach- The HSE has not stopped working. Its staff remain contactable and will continue to engage with stakeholders. It has said that it will take a flexible and proportionate account of the risks of the pandemic. It will suspend some targeted inspection activity, and will keep regulatory activity not requiring site visits as normal as possible. It will continue t investigate work related deaths, the most serious incidents and reported concerns. It will still take action to ensure compliance with the law, and while it will work remotely as much as possible, it will mobilise to site where necessary.
- First aid cover and qualifications- Adequate first aid cover will still need to be maintained in the workplace. Reduced cover may be appropriate with more workers working from home. Sharing first aid cover with another business is a possibility, and provision has been made for first aid certificate extensions and interrupted first aid training.
Much more information is available on HSE and local authority websites. If you are unclear about your health and safety responsibilities at this very difficult time and require advice on any health and safety related issue and/or interpretation of the above, contact Edmund Conybeare on 07739 463571 or at firstname.lastname@example.org