Businesses and organisations in Leicester could soon receive a call from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which is working with the city council to carry out Covid safety checks.
Offices and administrative premises, shops and retailers, warehouses and wholesalers will all be checked, as well as manufacturing businesses, church buildings and many others.
They can all expect a phone call from the HSE as part of a series of checks aimed at ensuring businesses are complying with Covid safety laws and following public health guidance.
More than 300 Leicester businesses contacted recently have already passed Covid safety checks completed by the HSE and Leicester City Council.
The checks are carried out in three stages, and therefore are mix of telephone contact and visits to premises.
Actions put in place by businesses typically include measures such as hand sanitising stations and social distancing for staff and visitors. Others may have introduced additional measures such as split shifts for staff, to help create more space in workplaces.
Where businesses fail the procedure, immediate steps are taken. This can include the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they're made safe. Where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
Nicola Preston, head of regulatory services at the city council, said: “Although we won’t hesitate to take action when it’s needed, we’re pleased to say the vast majority of businesses in the city are complying with what the law states.
“Where businesses do fail our checks, it’s usually since they're not engaging with the process – for example, we can’t get hold of them or they don’t react to our requests for information. In these cases, we follow up with a visit.
“We've visited many supermarkets recently too and they are complying well. We know that individuals sometimes raise problems here, but it’s often related to other customers getting too close as opposed to the supermarket not having the correct measures in position.
“Obviously, if people see poor compliance you want to know about it, but we’re pleased the vast majority of businesses are following the law and public health advice. We would urge all local businesses to keep up the good work and to make certain they respond to us or the HSE if we get in touch, so that we can guide them through the checking process.”
Being Covid-secure implies that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus.
Cllr Piara Singh Clair, deputy city mayor responsible for regulatory services, said: “We're continuing to talk to local businesses and inspecting sites around Leicester to understand how they are managing risks consistent with their specific business activity. We are pleased to be working with the HSE on this.
“Businesses have a responsibility to assist stop the spread of coronavirus by ensuring they're covid-secure – it is their legal duty to do this. Being covid-secure also gives workers, customers and the local community confidence so that they can safely support the local and national economy.”
All businesses are in scope for spot checks, which means businesses of any size, in almost any sector, can receive an unannounced check to be Covid-secure. Checks are ongoing.