COVID-19 and Health and Safety – The Law
The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) are leading the UK Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Guidelines for employers and employees to prevent spread have been published and are regularly updated on www.gov.uk
Local authority environmental health officers and HSE (Health and Safety Executive) inspectors are referencing these guidelines when determining if businesses are meeting their general responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act to protect workers, and others, from risks to their health and safety. Improvement and prohibition notices may be served to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and prosecution could follow at a later date.
Employers must report under the RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:
- an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to COVID-19. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
- a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
Environmental health and trading standards officers have also been given powers to enforce the regulations that require certain places to close during the outbreak.
Local authorities may visit, observe workplaces from their cars or carry out telephone calls to determine compliance with closure and health and safety legislation.
If you require assistance to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment or would like to arrange a remote audit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01442 877322