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Industrial Health and Safety: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL7153, tabled on 22 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the willingness of employers to comply with Public Health England guidance in relation to COVID-19; and what plans they have to review the current health and safety inspection regime to ensure that (1) employers are following that guidance, and (2) workplaces are safe.

Answered on

5 August 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has seen high levels of compliance with the Government’s Covid-19 advice for employers (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) including guidance published by Public Health England and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). For example, since 1st April 2020 there have been 3,129* investigations of workplace concerns where an outcome has been recorded in HSE’s operational database and in only 114 cases (3.6%) has it been necessary to take enforcement action either by formally writing to the employer or by serving an enforcement notice.

HSE has reviewed its health and safety inspection regime and has adopted the following approach to checking employer compliance with guidance to ensure that workplaces are safe:

1) spot checks carried out by contact centre staff, with those assessed as non-compliant or who fail to engage then contacted by operational staff and, if they are still considered non-compliant, a site visit is carried out; and

2) a programme of Covid-19 specific site inspections carried out by health and safety Inspectors.

HSE is providing support to Local Authorities in their role as health and safety co-regulators by delivering a series of targeted webinars and supporting guidance in Covid-19 related topics such as social distancing.

*This information was extracted from HSE’s live operational database on 22nd July 2020 and is subject to change e.g. the administrative process of recording the information in the database can take up to 10 days.