Businesses face spot-checks to ensure they are Covid safe for staff
Businesses are facing spot-checks to ensure their premises and working practices are Covid compliant to protect workers from the virus.
Officials say any employer found not abiding by the rules could face enforcement - including being told to stop work until proper measures are put in place, and prosecution.
Colchester Borough Council is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to check whether businesses in the borough have measures in place to help tackle coronavirus.
Council health and safety officers are working alongside other local public health authorities to identify any patterns in confirmed coronavirus cases in the area.
Beverley Oxford, portfolio holder for communities, said: “We are talking to local businesses and visiting and inspecting sites in and around the borough, to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity.
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“Managing the spread of coronavirus in the workplace needs to be the priority for all local businesses, which have a legal duty to protect their workers and others from harm as well as taking reasonable steps and adjustments to control the spread of coronavirus.
“Our advice to businesses is to work with your employees when implementing any changes, to help increase the confidence of your staff, customers and the local community.”
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During the spot-checks, officers can provide advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors, but will also take immediate action if businesses are not compliant.
The council said this can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe or, where businesses fail to comply, the threat of prosecution.
Working to manage the transmission of Covid means businesses need to conduct a risk assessment to understand the measures they may need to protect workers and others from virus.
A borough council spokesman said: "All businesses are in scope for spot checks, which means businesses of any size and in any sector can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are working safely to minimise the risk of spreading Covid."
For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors the latest government advice is available here.