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More covid safety checks on city businesses

Published on Monday, February 15, 2021

A person in hi-vis with notebook illustrating covid safety checks for businesses

BUSINESSES and organisations in Leicester could soon be getting 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, places of worship and many others.

They can all expect a 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 carried out by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Leicester City Council.

The checks are carried out in three stages, and 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 process, immediate steps are taken. This can include the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they are 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 the law.

“Where businesses do fail our checks, it’s usually because they are not engaging with the process – for example, we can’t get hold of them or they don’t respond to our requests for information. In these cases, we follow up with a visit.

“We have visited many supermarkets recently too and they are complying well. We know that people sometimes raise problems here, but it’s often to do with other customers getting too close rather than the supermarket not having the correct measures in place.

“Obviously, if people see poor compliance we want to know about it, but we’re pleased that 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 sure 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 means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus. Government guidance is available for different business sectors on the gov.uk website.

Cllr Piara Singh Clair, deputy city mayor responsible for regulatory services, said: “We are continuing to talk to local businesses and inspecting sites in and around Leicester to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity. We are pleased to be working with the HSE on this. 

“Businesses have a responsibility to help stop the spread of coronavirus by ensuring they are covid-secure – it is their legal duty to do so. 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 any sector, can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are covid-secure. Checks are ongoing.

For the latest information and safer business guidance, see www.gov.uk/coronavirus and https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

Members of the public with concerns about any city business can report them to the council by calling 0116 454 1000 or emailing customer.services@leicester.gov.uk

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