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HSE issues social distancing warning to employers

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned employers it will hand out enforcement notices to those who do not comply with the two-metre social distancing rule in workplaces that remain open during the coronavirus outbreak.

The regulator said it is ‘constantly reviewing’ the situation and will consider taking action against those who flout the rules.

‘In these extraordinary times, [the] HSE is constantly reviewing the fast-moving situation with our partners across government to support the national effort to tackle Covid-19,’ the regulator said in a statement. ‘While social distancing is fundamentally a public health measure introduced to reduce the spread of infection, we recognise the concerns raised on social distancing within the workplace and are in contact with trade unions.

‘Where [the] HSE identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant [Public Health England] guidance to control public health risks, for example employers not taking appropriate action to socially distance or ensure workers in the shielded category can follow the NHS advice to self-isolate for the period specified, we will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. These actions include the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements with the PHE guidance.’

Practical information on protecting your workforce during the pandemic is available here.

IOSH is constantly updating its Covid-19 information and resources page here.

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