Council working with HSE to ensure businesses are COVID-secure
13 January 2021
Businesses in North Devon are being reminded that they may receive a visit or telephone call to check they are COVID-secure, as the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic continues.
North Devon Council is continuing to work in collaboration with The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to carry out COVID-secure spot checks on businesses where they are responsible for the enforcement of health and safety legislation, including residential care homes. The spot checks aim to be supportive of businesses by helping them to manage the risks of the virus.
The purpose of the spot checks is to ensure businesses are aware of, and complying with, the COVID-secure guidance that applies to their business - and to offer advice where there are any shortfalls. The government guidance recommends adjustments that need to be made, and steps required to make a business COVID-secure to help to protect staff, customers and visitors from the Coronavirus infection.
Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden says: "It is imperative that we continue to work together to help businesses remain COVID-secure as we battle the Coronavirus pandemic, which is why the spot checks are so important.
"This isn't an exercise in catching businesses out; we know how much pressure our businesses are under - particularly our residential care homes - and we want to support them through what is a difficult and challenging time. We believe that the majority of our businesses are doing their best and these spot checks will help our businesses understand what is required of them and to receive suggestions for improvements where needed. Only in cases where businesses are not managing the risks will we take follow-up action to ensure our residents are being protected from the virus.
"If you receive a call or visit from HSE, please make time to participate in the spot check; it is being done in the interest of public safety and failure to do so will mean our officers will need to follow up the lack of engagement. We hope the spot check project will help us build confidence with the local business community and the wider public that businesses can operate safely, supporting the government’s approach to rebuilding the economy, whilst protecting public health."
Spot checks could either take the form of a visit or a telephone call which would be made direct to a business by HSE. Where any concerns are identified during an initial call, a follow-up call will be made to assess those concerns and, if required, they will be passed over to the council's Food, Health and Safety team to follow up. HSE also works with a range of partners to make face-to-face visits to premises. HSE representatives will carry identification from their business and a letter of authorisation from HSE.
Being COVID-secure means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage the risk and protect workers and others from Coronavirus. More information about how to manage the risk of Coronavirus in different business sectors can be found in the 'working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)' section of the government website.
Businesses with questions regarding the spot check process should contact Pam Charles, Lead Officer for Food, Health and Safety on 01271 388430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To verify the identity of an officer that calls or visits their organisation, businesses should call 0300 790 6896.