Cleaning the premises after a Covid case

Cleaning the premises after a COVID case

Cleaning the premises after a COVID case

We are aware of the need to clean and disinfect the workplace after learning of a worker with Covid symptoms or confirmed coronavirus. There is guidance on how this should be undertaken from a health and safety perspective.

Government Compliance 

The UK Government guidance notes the need to undertake cleaning and disinfection following an occasion when an individual has symptoms or confirmed coronavirus and has left the premises.

Guidance notes that:

  • public areas where a symptomatic person has passed through and spent minimal time but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids, such as corridors, can be cleaned thoroughly as normal
  • all surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with should be cleaned and disinfected, including all potentially contaminated and frequently touched areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab rails in corridors and stairwells.

It is advisable that, as part of outbreak contingency planning, the employer has a plan in place to enable appropriate cleaning to be undertaken. A process should be put in place that enables appropriate persons to be informed of the circumstances when cleaning is required and has the authority to put the plan into place.

Being Practical

In terms of practical matters, the following should be considered:

  • completion of an appropriate risk assessment/s for the cleaning activities, including use of substances and work equipment
  • provision of appropriate equipment for cleaning but also warning signs and personal protective equipment, etc
  • development of method statements/standard operating procedures that put into practice the risk control measures required
  • instruction and training of operatives in the use of equipment, PPE, substances, cleaning methods and waste disposal, etc.

There will need to be some form of dynamic risk assessing required as the operations will need to take into account the actual areas involved. This will require some investigative work to ascertain where the person with symptoms/confirmed Covid has been.

Again the employer should be considering where responsibility for this rests within the organisation.

Where the cleaning operations have been outsourced to a third party it is essential the organisation works with the cleaning provider to ensure all parties are fully conversant with the procedures to be followed.

To assist in developing appropriate procedures, the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) have produced a guidance document Standard Operating Procedure: Outbreak Decontamination Cleaning.

This guidance can be used as a framework to develop an organisation-specific procedure.

Contact us should you require further information.


Beware scam HSE email offering guidelines on COVID-19 spot check

Businesses  should be aware of a scam email which is being circulated. The email is signed by someone identified as Mark J. Burrows, is targeting UK businesses, and claims that the HSE will soon be visiting the email recipient’s premises for a COVID-19 check. The email urges the recipient to follow the guidance provided through a link in the email.

Example email which was received by a client.

Health and safety spot checks and inspections during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Health and Safety Executive is carrying out spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses in all areas to ensure they are COVID-secure.

We are making calls so we can give expert advice on how to manage the risks and protect workers, customers and visitors. We are also working closely with local authorities, assisting them in the sectors they regulate such as hospitality and retail.

By calling and visiting premises and speaking directly to employers, we can check the measures they’ve put in place are in line with government guidance.

Inspectors will make COVID-secure checks as part of their normal role in visiting workplaces during the pandemic. To ensure we reach as many workplaces as possible nationally and support the core work of our inspectors, we are working with trained and approved partners to deliver the spot check calls and visits.

We are planning to visit (spot check) your premises:  9 AM, 19/03/2021

Please follow the guidance to find the required documents. This is legal requirement.

Yours sincerely,

Mark J. Burrows

HSE Manager
telephone: 0300 790 6787
Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm

Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS

If you get this email, please delete it. Do not click on the attachments. If you belong to an organisation with multiple employees, please ensure all of them are aware of this type of email scam, and that they understand the risks associated with downloading files that they were directed to after receiving unexpected or unsolicited emails.

If you would like an audit, contact us.

Contact us if you require further information.

Register for free rapid lateral flow test

Register to order free rapid lateral flow coronavirus tests

Register to order free rapid lateral flow coronavirus tests

You must register on or before 31 March 2021.

Do not use this service if you or your employees have symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should order a PCR test and stay at home.

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus.

The 2 most commonly used are:

  • PCR tests (mainly for people with symptoms)
  • rapid lateral flow tests (only for people with no symptoms)

You can register below to order tests if:

  • your business is registered in England
  • your employees cannot work from home

The tests must be used in the workplace. They cannot be taken home.

Your employees can also find out if they can get a rapid lateral flow test from a local test site instead.

Before you start

You’ll need:

  • the name of your company
  • your company registration number
  • an email address

To begin the registration click HERE

if you have any questions, please contact us or look on the Government website.

Take care. Keep safe!

Are your LEV Systems COVID safe?

Are your LEV Systems COVID safe?

Are your LEV Systems COVID safe?

With the ever increasing infection and death rates of COVID- 19, now, more than ever is the time to ensure your working environments are safe, as the health of employees during the pandemic is paramount.

If you work in an industry where dust and fumes are commonplace, you will already be familiar with the challenges that the Covid-19 outbreak has had on safety inspection and compliance, including how important it is to ensure a robust Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system. But have you considered the impact that a poorly maintained environment will have on your employees in today’s climate, and how that will ultimately impact the efficiency of your productivity?

Essential Ventilation 

Over time, the performance of LEV systems will naturally decline due to blockages and wear and tear, meaning that the poor filtration of dust and fumes from industrial equipment could begin to contaminate the air and affect the health of your workforce. Respiratory diseases like asthma, lung scarring and cancer can all be exacerbated by poorly ventilated working environments, therefore leaving employees vulnerable to airborne viruses like Covid-19, ultimately impacting your workforce capabilities and bottom line.

To ensure your LEV system complies with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, inspection and testing is recommended to be done every 14 months, yet because of local and national lockdowns many companies are finding it challenging to prioritise inspections due to limited resources.

Recently, The HSE released a Covid-19 safe guide to inspection and testing of LEV systems during the Coronavirus outbreak which states that they ‘expect duty holders to make all reasonable efforts to arrange thorough examination and testing to be carried out within the statutory time limits’. Organisations operating at limited capacity with fractions of their workforce limited to home working or due to imposed government self-isolation may find this difficult, therefore widening the gap between legal requirements and compliance.

The importance of LEV inspection & testing

Many jobs across different industries involve work processes that create dust and fumes, which when breathed in can cause diseases, such as asthma, lung scarring and cancer.

Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems, also known as extraction or fume control, are used by businesses to control dust and fumes. Over time, the performance of LEV systems can decline, due to wear and tear or blockage. This is why regular inspection and testing – every 14 months to comply with COSHH – is necessary ­to ensure the systems are operating effectively and hazardous substances are kept controlled.

Contact us for further information.


Workplace Pranks – No Joke

No Horseplay at Work

No Horseplay at Work

Rough, boisterous play or pranks in the workplace can have serious consequences. We look at key cases involving practical jokes at work and offer tips on how to prevent horseplay.
What is horse play?

Playing around, racing, grabbing, thoughtless vehicle operation, social pressure, harassment, and unauthorised contests are activities often encouraged by ‘practical jokers’ who pressure other colleagues to get involved. Playing jokes and having fun with colleagues can break up the day, provide stress-relief and make work more interesting, however horseplay can take this too far and put workers at risk.

Is it a health and safety issue?

Cases involving horseplay are common in industrial workplaces such as construction sites, and often where forklift trucks are used. But other cases have included pharmacies, hospitals and offices where pranks such as pulling out a chair has resulted in injury. Regardless of the sector, it is management’s responsibility to ensure all employees have access to a safe, respectful and harassment-free place to work.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 does not specifically discuss horseplay but does make requirements for employees regarding health and safety.
Section 7 of the Act requires employees to ‘take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work’.
Section 8 requires that no person shall intentionally interfere or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety, and welfare. These duties extend to avoiding silly or reckless behaviour, and those who fail to comply with these duties may make themselves liable to be prosecuted.
However, acts that are not directly related to work, and are more of a personal nature will not be within scope, such as an employee assaulting a supervisor because he believed the supervisor had stolen his wallet.

It is most likely that employees will be prosecuted under section 7 where they have shown a reckless disregard for health and safety, and such disregard has resulted in serious risk.

Who is responsible?

It is a common misconception among employees that health and safety is the sole responsibility of the employer and if an accident or incident were to occur due to horseplay, that resulted in the injury of another person, it would be the employer that would have full responsibility. However, pranks at work that injure or threaten to injure another person may be the subject for individual prosecution against the person responsible. The law of vicarious liability has been steadily expanding, but there are areas where responsibility is still unlikely to arise on the part of the employer.

Last month IOSH magazine reported on Chell v Tarmac [2020] EWHC 2613, the latest decision to demonstrate that it will be difficult for an employee to succeed where they have been the victim of a practical joke played on them by a colleague.

Employers cannot rule out that horseplay at work can result in injury and there are cases where they can be held liable for the actions of their employees. To help prevent this, they need to have appropriate policies and procedures in place relating to horseplay that informs employees of the consequences of inappropriate behaviour at work and set out clearly what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Tips to prevent horse play.

Employees should:
• not engage or participate in any type of unsafe behaviour or horseplay, initiate it, or get pressured into participating in it.
• follow all regulations and work rules to ensure the safety of individuals or other employees.
• ensure protective equipment is used properly and operating machinery is in good repair and does not present a hazard.
• report those behaving in an unprofessional or unsafe way to a supervisor or manager.

Managers should:
• provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.
• take all precautions necessary to protect the safety and health of employees.
• outline policies against workplace horseplay in your employee manual
• educate and train employees on workplace safety.
• be an example of professionalism and not engage in any inappropriate behaviour or horseplay.

Contact us if you require further information.