Enhanced spot checks to be carried out on Lancaster district businesses in bid to tackle coronavirus
Lancaster City Council is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to conduct enhanced spot checks on businesses to make sure they are Covid-secure.
The city council said it has been working closely with businesses to help them open safely and has so far conducted more than 2,000 visits to offer advice and ensure they are complying with the current regulations.
A Covid Safe accreditation scheme has also been launched to support businesses and give shoppers the confidence they need to return to the high street.
The move comes as Covid restrictions look set to be further tightened in parts of England early next week, with the closure of pubs and restaurants a possibility in the worst-affected areas.
With cases beginning to rise, and in conjunction with the HSE, the council said it is now stepping up its prevention work to protect workers, customers and visitors.
The council said that common issues that are being found across a range of sectors include failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime particularly at busy times of the day.
The HSE will make phone calls to businesses to talk through their precautions.
If the business doesn’t engage with this process, or concerns are raised, then Environmental Health Officers from the council will be sent to the premises to carry-out an inspection.
If businesses do not have the proper controls in place, the council said 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, this could lead to prosecution.
Being Covid-secure means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage the risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus.
Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox, cabinet member with responsibility for sustainable economic prosperity, said: “Becoming Covid-secure is a legal duty for businesses and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus.
“Through the diligent work of our environmental health team we are know that the majority of businesses have worked very hard to become Covid-secure, so for most these spot checks will be routine. However, where there is evidence that non-compliance is an issue, this additional work will allow us to take appropriate steps to ensure that any problems are quickly rectified.
“By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support our economy.”
For the latest information and safer business guidance visit www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
The Covid Safe self-accreditation scheme is free to join and aims to reassure customers that an establishment has in place the necessary risk assessment, safety measures and staff training to operate safely. For more information on how to apply visit Lancaster.gov.uk/covidsafe.