The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced it is restarting ‘proactive’ inspections, as much of the country gets back to work after the lockdown was eased.
The safety regulator stopped carrying out spot-checks after the lockdown announcement in March, despite sectors such as construction continuing to operate.
As previously reported, more than 4,500 complaints were made to the watchdog between 9 March – when the first UK case of coronavirus was confirmed – and 3 May 2020.
A HSE spokesperson told IOSH magazine: ‘Inspectors continue to visit workplaces following up any reports or concerns about safety in the workplace including over COVID and ensuring compliance. On the spot inspections are resuming imminently.’
It confirmed it has responded to around 5000 workplace concerns and is inspecting some workplaces in response. ‘This will continue as more businesses return to work,’ the spokesperson added.
‘As businesses start getting back to work, we can see scope for making further proactive enquiries of employers. We’re pulling together plans as we speak.’
In his 10 May speech, prime minister Boris Johnson made available up to £14m for the HSE for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment during the easing of the lockdown.
‘We’ve been given the encouraging news of access to additional funding to support our advice and regulatory activity as businesses implement the new guidance on working safely during corona virus,’ said the HSE spokesperson. ‘The funding will help support HSE’s capability to address an increased number of concerns and enquiries from workers, their families and employers alike.’