• Kyle Durward

Key points to consider for businesses reopening in Scotland

As many sectors of the economy prepare to reopen following a long and difficult lockdown, businesses need to remain vigilant and make sure their COVID-secure measures, as well as other health and safety measures, are in place to protect workers, visitors, and others.

Being COVID-secure means being adaptable to the current guidance and having measures in place to manage the risk of coronavirus.

Key points for businesses to consider:

  • Remember your COVID risk assessment All businesses must continue to update their COVID-secure risk assessment to make sure they’re in line with the latest government guidance.

  • Renewed vigour on COVID-secure measures All businesses must have COVID-secure measures in place and must make sure that everyone is following them to manage the risks of COVID-19. This includes social distancing, frequent cleaning, good hand hygiene, and ventilation. Please ensure your workplace is safe by following the HSE guidance on being COVID-secure and government guidance for Scotland.

  • With infection rates dropping businesses should not become complacent All businesses must prioritise their COVID-secure measures to maintain the safety of their staff, visitors, and customers.

As many businesses have been closed for a significant period of time, as part of their plans to re-open safely, there are many factors they should consider as they put in place health and safety measures to protect workers, visitors, and others. One example of this to consider is:

  • Legionella If your building has been closed or had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. Detailed guidance on Legionella risks during the coronavirus pandemic is available on the HSE website.

In addition, if employees have been away from the business for prolonged periods, they may have experienced a decline in their ability or proficiency caused by a period of non-use. Workers may need additional time and support to get back to where they were pre-pandemic. Similarly, equipment stored, unused for long periods of time should be checked for damage or deterioration.

HSE continues to carry out spot checks and inspections on businesses in all sectors and regions to check they have COVID-secure measures in place. This includes businesses that have been operating throughout the pandemic, and those that are starting to reopen.

During the spot checks and inspections, advice and guidance will be provided to help manage risk and protect workers and visitors, but where businesses are not managing this, immediate action will be taken. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe, and, where businesses fail to comply, it could lead to prosecution.

Further information is available on spot checks and inspections.

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