COVID-19 Updates – Updated 6 April 2020

by | 6 Apr 2020 | News

 

HSE update – 6 April 2020

The following updates have been provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)…

 

RIDDOR Reporting of COVID-19

You must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when: 

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence; or
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.

What to report…

Dangerous occurrences – If something happens at work which results in (or could result in) the release or escape of coronavirus you must report this as a dangerous occurrence. An example of a dangerous occurrence would be a lab worker accidentally smashing a glass vial containing coronavirus, leading to people being exposed. 

Cases of disease (exposure to a biological agent) – If there is reasonable evidence that someone diagnosed with COVID-19 was likely exposed because of their work you must report this as an exposure to a biological agent using the case of disease report. An example of a work-related exposure to coronavirus would be a health care professional who is diagnosed with COVID-19 after treating patients with COVID-19.

Read the full update on the HSE website here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/riddor-reporting-coronavirus.htm 

 

Protecting home workers

As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.

When someone is working from home, permanently or temporarily, as an employer you should consider:

  • How will you keep in touch with them?
  • What work activity will they be doing (and for how long)?
  • Can it be done safely?
  • Do you need to put control measures in place to protect them?

The HSE website provides a number of useful guides and links to resources on…

  • Lone working without supervision;
  • Working with display screen equipment; and
  • Stress and mental health.

You can access these resources here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm

 

Regulating occupational health and safety during the coronavirus outbreak

Despite the demanding circumstances, compliance with occupational health and safety legal requirements remains with duty holders and HSE will continue its regulatory oversight of how duty holders are meeting their responsibilities in the context of the current public health risk and based on our available regulatory capacity. The regulatory approach will take a flexible and proportionate account of the risks and challenges arising from the pandemic.

As a consequence, HSE:

  • has suspended targeted inspection activity of high-risk industries that are not part of the major hazard sectors, including construction and manufacturing
  • has carried out a short pause on our offshore oil and gas and onshore chemical, explosives and microbiological industry inspection activities so we can give duty holders time to overcome various immediate pressures and challenges and we will then focus our regulatory work so it is re-prioritised onto critical areas and activities. We will continue to regulate major hazard industries throughout this time undertaking regulatory functions remotely
  • will endeavour to undertake regulatory activities which do not require site visits as normally as possible, for example Approvals and Authorisation work for biocides and pesticides, Statutory Permissioning activities such as Licensing, Safety Case / Report Assessments, Thorough Reviews, Combined Operations Notifications, Wells Notifications, Land Use Planning Applications, Hazardous Substances Consents etc
  • will, across all sectors, continue to investigate work related deaths, the most serious major injuries and dangerous occurrences and reported concerns from the workforce or the public where people are being exposed to risks from work activities and we will still take action to secure compliance with the law. We will conduct as much of our investigation activity using technology as possible, without compromising the collection of evidence and our ability to secure effective control of risk and, where appropriate, justice
  • will do as much of our regulatory intervention work as we can remotely, but we will still mobilise to site, including offshore, where it’s necessary to provide public assurance that hazards are being effectively managed and to secure compliance with the law. Where a site visit is required social distancing guidelines will be followed.

Read the full update on the HSE website here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/hse-regulatory-activity-during-coronavirus.htm 

 

Training update – 20 March 2020

In accordance with the current government advice in relation to the coronavirus emergency, especially that of the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills with regards to the cessation of group training courses, we have taken the extremely difficult decision to postpone all open courses due to take place between 20 March and 18 April 2020.

We will continue to stay abreast of the government advice, and an extension to this period may become necessary.

Those affected by the postponements will receive automated cancellation notifications by email, and we will be in touch in due course to make alternative bookings for future courses.

Specific guidance has been issued by the Health and Safety Executive in relation first aid certificates that are due to expire. Information is also available for courses that may have already commenced, but have not yet concluded. Please read on for details.

 

Extension of first aid qualifications due for renewal

The HSE has announced that they will be offering a three-month extension to the validity of the following qualifications if learners are unable to renew due to COVID-19 and associated government advice:

  • First Aid at Work
  • Emergency First Aid at Work
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Emergency Paediatric First Aid

This means that individuals who may be covering first aid within a workplace holding any of the qualifications stated above can continue their role as first aiders for up to three months following the expiry date stated on their qualification certificate.

This guidance comes into effect for certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020. The HSE will review this matter over the coming months and will issue further statements as necessary.

The Department for Education supports the HSE statement regarding the extension of first aid certificates during coronavirus emergency and that it can be applied to paediatric first aid certificates held by staff in early years provision.

 

Extension of maximum qualification delivery times

Any course or qualification delivered over a series of sessions that usually has a maximum delivery period (for example, a compliance course that should have no more than four weeks between the start and end date) has had these maximum timeframes relaxed.

If you have started a qualification but have been unable to complete it due to coronavirus, please be assured that when the situation is back to normal you will be able to complete the qualification and/or assessment from where you left off.

As restrictions are due to be in place for a significant period of time, we will ensure that a thorough recap is built into the training when it is resumed, and any assessment undertaken will be repeated.