Reading Council continues work with the Health and Safety Executive to make sure businesses are COVID-secure
- 700 visits to Reading businesses carried out to ensure they are operating in Covid-secure way
- Also continuing a range of regulatory services including checks on the licenced trade including taxi and private hire
READING BOROUGH COUNCIL is continuing its work with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to contact businesses in Reading to make sure they are COVID-secure and to help tackle coronavirus (COVID-19) in the local area.
We are also working alongside local public health teams to support the understanding of any patterns in confirmed coronavirus cases in the area.
We have already completed over 700 visits and proactively made contact with almost 1000 businesses and organisations and now we are working with the HSE to reach more businesses.
Although most retailers and hospitality venues are closed, many workplaces remain open and must operate with Covid-secure measures in place to protect workers and others. During the checks, we provide advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors but where some businesses are not managing this, we will take immediate action. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
Being COVID-secure means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage the risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus. It also means that businesses must ensure that their staff are fit to work and ensuring they self-isolate if they, or anyone they live with, has coronavirus symptoms or comes into contact with someone who has tested positive. For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors please read the government guidance.
Alongside these checks we are also responding to complaints from the public and employees about workplaces and assisting Public Health England where positive cases are identified relating to Reading addresses. We are also continuing a range of regulatory services including checks on the licenced trade including taxi and private hire.
Councillor Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said: “We are continuing our efforts to talk to local businesses and inspecting sites in and around Reading to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity. To date we’ve visited 791 businesses.
“Becoming and remaining COVID-secure needs to be the priority for all businesses in Reading. It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm, and this includes taking reasonable steps to control risk and protect people from coronavirus. This means making business adjustments and we advise employers to work with their employees when implementing changes, to help increase confidence for workers, customers and the local community. To all employees – the message is, if you do have to go to work, then your workplace should be Covid-secure. We must all continue to work safely to control the virus.
“All businesses are in scope for spot checks which means businesses of any size, in any sector, can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are COVID-secure. By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support the local and national UK economy. If you receive a phone call or a visit from us or HSE, please cooperate so we can help you open safely.”
HSE and local authority inspectors are finding some common issues across a range of sectors that include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime particularly at busy times of the day.
Cllr Brock said: “I would also remind local businesses to check their eligibility for a variety of grants available. The Council has now distributed more than £5 million in financial support directly to local businesses since the start of the pandemic, across a variety of grants. The money is providing a lifeline to many businesses across Reading, in what obviously continues to be a very difficult period. Visit the Council’s website to find out more.”
For the latest information and safer business guidance, see www.gov.uk
For local business support and advice, including access to funding, visit www.reading.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-business-information
Notes to editors
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. They prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
For HSE’s working safely guidance see https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm
For government guidance on working safely see https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus