Changes to Health and Safety and Coronavirus {COVID-19}

Changes to prevent the spread of coronavirus must not be at the expense of regular health and safety, the HSE has said. What’s to know?

Don’t create problems.

Alexander Tsavalos (T), the head of the HSE’s Local Authority and Safety Unit, was speaking at a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) event. His key point was: “There’s the potential that in trying to deal with the COVID-19 risk you might inadvertently create another risk in the workplace.”


The CIEH is the membership organisation for many safety inspectors working for local authorities, so if you receive a visit from one, expect to be grilled not only about your coronavirus measures but also any knock-on negative impacts on safety.

What to consider?

If you’re heading back to the workplace, you will need to make some adjustments to comply with the government’s coronavirus guidance. This could range from displaying signs that warn staff to maintain social distancing, to more significant changes. For example, you may have to consider implementing a one-way system, moving desks and workstations, installing plastic screens and more.

This is where the problems of coronavirus compromising “normal” safety could come into play.  Take a look at our blog post series on COVID-19 where you will find posts on various aspects of managing coronavirus risks in the workplace.

What problems?

For example, if fire doors are kept open, or escape routes are blocked to create one-way routes, it could reduce fire safety standards, or prevent occupants from safely evacuating the premises in the event of a fire.  In introducing these changes ensure that your fire risk assessment is updated.

Tip. If you wish to keep doors open, you will need devices that close them if the alarm is activated – not wooden door stops. A simpler and cheaper option is to increase cleaning frequency on door handles rather than taking appropriate steps to keep them open.

How can we help?

We have been assisting organisations with measures to ensure that they have a COVID-Secure workplace as required by the government.  You might now be in a position where you’ve done as much as you think is required based on the guidance.  But is this enough?

We have created a coronavirus compliance checklist that can be used to identify/document the steps that have been taken to protect staff and to make sure that the key measures to ensure a COVID-Secure workplace as per government guidance are in place.

This checklist will save you time and will be an essential tool to demonstrate that you have considered all the pertinent factors to ensure a COVID-Secure workplace.  If areas have been missed the responsible person is in a better position to implement an action plan to cover the items that were overlooked.

The checklist will also enable you to spot other non COVID related health & safety areas to be highlighted and addressed.  The focus should be on coronavirus but don’t forget that other health and safety risks need to be covered, especially if they are created as a result of implementing coronavirus controls.

This checklist is what we’re using with our clients and as a gift for getting this far in this blog post and hopefully reading our other blogs related to COVID-19 we are providing this checklist for free to those who decide to sign-up to our email list.

If you sign-up to this list you will ONLY receive COVID-19 related information.  We have already provided 8 blog posts related to COVID over the last 2 months and when new blogs are released you will be notified directly.  If there are changes to government guidance on COVID you will also be notified.

COVID affects us all and if we can continue to help to provide tools that will make compliance easier  that’s what we will do throughout this pandemic.

So if you would like to be kept informed on COVID related news, then fill out the form below and we will send you free of charge our coronavirus compliance checklist.

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