If you are wondering what the consequences might be if you do not try that hard to enforce Coronavirus rules, the HSE has given clarification. What do you need to know?
New rules. Businesses beginning to open up are facing a whole raft of challenges when implementing arrangements to prevent the spread of coronavirus. To help, the government has published specific guidelines covering various sectors including construction, factories, offices, restaurants and retail premises.
Helpful guidance. These guides describe the measures to be taken where it’s unavoidable for staff to come to work, and where customers need to visit your premises. They include the requirement for social distancing, i.e. a two-metre gap, to be maintained wherever possible.
Make changes. There are suggestions for how to achieve this within each type of workplace, e.g. by rearranging the layout, changing the flow of movement around the premises, marking floors, displaying signs and using barriers and screens. However, despite efforts by the government to get the message across that social distancing is vital, many firms are flouting the rules.
Don’t turn a blind eye. The HSE has stated that if it receives a complaint or inspectors observe non-compliance first hand, it will take action. It has a range of options available, from providing friendly advice through to issuing an enforcement notice. If necessary, it will serve a prohibition notice to close non-compliant businesses.
Tip 1. It’s not sufficient to display signs etc. and leave it to customers and staff to follow the requirements at their discretion. Carry out close supervision to ensure that your site rules are being met.
Tip 2. Don’t rely on mask wearing as an alternative to social distancing. It’s been made very clear by public health advisors that this is not acceptable. Using personal protective equipment can be a useful part of your precautions but it’s a last resort after other measures have been taken.
The HSE has warned that inspectors may close sites and businesses if they fail to toe the line. Apply the sector-specific guidelines on social distancing.