COVID spot checks and inspections continue as lifting of restrictions are delayed

The UK Government has delayed the full lifting of COVID restrictions in England by four weeks, at Step 3 of the roadmap. This comes amid rising infection rates as the new Delta COVID variant spreads.

After two weeks, the government will review the data to see if the risks have reduced. It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments are reviewing their planning for the lifting of restrictions, which may also be delayed.

Businesses need to continue to have COVID-secure measures in place that are in line with the latest Government guidance. The latest GOV.UK guidance includes guidance on going to work. You should continue to work from home if you can. There is also information if you are in an area where a new COVID-19 variant is spreading

It’s vital at this stage that businesses don’t become complacent and continue to have measures in place to manage the risk from Coronavirus and ensure workers are following them.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is working with local authorities to carry out spot checks and inspections on businesses. These are taking place in all areas, to check that businesses have COVID-secure measures in place to keep workers, visitors and customers safe.

What happens during spot checks and inspections?

HSE calls and visits businesses to check the COVID-secure measures they have in place and provides guidance and advice if required. Where businesses aren’t managing the risk, action will be taken. This can range from 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.

Angela Storey, Director of Transformation and Operational Services at HSE, said: “The UK government has confirmed a four-week delay to the lifting of restrictions, as the Delta strain of Covid-19 becomes the dominant variant in England, with infection numbers rising across Britain.

“Whilst we recognise that this news will come as a disappointment to a number of businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector, businesses must continue to have measures in place to manage the risks, to help protect the health of local communities as well as to support the local and national UK economy.

“We will also continue to work with local authorities, checking that businesses have COVID-secure measures in place, and providing guidance and advice where needed.

“As we continue to carry out spot checks and inspections our support of cross-government work remains. We are committed to helping employers and employees as they work through the pandemic.

“All workplaces are in scope for spot checks which means businesses of any size, in any sector can receive an unannounced call or visit to check they are COVID-secure.”

Please ensure your workplace is safe by following the guidance on being COVID-secure. Further information on spot checks and inspections is available on our website.

/Ends

Notes to editor

1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. https://www.hse.gov.uk
2. HSE news releases are available at https://press.hse.gov.uk
3. For HSE’s working safely guidance see https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm