Health and Safety Executive targets Blackburn businesses

Health and Safety Executive is working with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council to help the town handle the coronavirus crisis.

Blackburn has one of the highest infection rates in the UK, and now the HSE has sent inspectors to make unannounced visits to businesses within the town and surrounding areas to ensure that they are complying with workplace health and safety regulations.

The organisation has detailed five steps which businesses must follow.

  • Step 1. carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Step 2. develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures
  • Step 3. take all reasonable steps to help people work from home
  • Step 4. maintain 2m social distancing where possible
  • Step 5. where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk.

Francine Cheney, HSE construction head of operations said: "The number of confirmed cases of the disease are currently high in the area. We are talking to local businesses and inspecting sites in and around Blackburn to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity.

"Becoming COVID-secure needs to be the priority for all businesses to tackle the rise in the number of cases in the area. It is a legal duty for employers to protect their workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus. This means making workplace adjustments to become COVID-secure. We advise employers to work with their employees when implementing changes, to help increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community."

HSE has already been gathering information through site visits, phone calls and through the collection of supporting visual evidence such as photos and video footage.

Common issues across a range of sectors include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime – particularly at busy times of the day – and providing access to welfare facilities to allow employees to frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap.

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