HSE concerned about protecting returning workers from coronavirus
Sarah Albon, the chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has told the House of Commons pensions committee that not all employers can provide adequate safety measures to protect workers from the coronavirus when they reopen.
She said that all workplaces need to implement risks assessments for COVID-19 before employees return. Social distancing, hygiene and PPE (personal protection equipment) measures must be in force.
In the period March 9 to May 7, the HSE received nearly 5,000 calls related to the coronavirus from workers worried about being safe in the workplace. The HSE is investigating around 1,400 reported health and safety concerns related to worker protection from the coronavirus. Several businesses have been asked to report their safety measures or told to make improvements. The HSE has not ordered any business to close because of inadequate health and safety procedures.
The HSE has extended its call centre closing time from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and increased its call centre staff volumes to cope with the existing call volumes and the expected increase in calls from concerned workers.
The HSE has published guidelines on how to make workplaces safer. This summarizes the steps all businesses should take to protect workers. Guidelines specific to business sectors are available on the Gov.uk website too.
Those who can work from home should continue to do so, but those who cannot need to know about getting to and from work safely and how to be safe at work.