The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has stressed it could shut construction sites down if social distancing rules are not followed.
However, how they plan to do this is unclear, as its thought HSE inspectors are at home self-isolating after the government agency suspended all routine inspections last week.
In a joint statement between the HSE, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) the HSE said: Social distancing is a key public health measure introduced by Public Health England to reduce the spread of infection. Most employers are going to great lengths to ensure social distancing wherever possible. The HSE, CBI and TUC wish to publicly support these efforts. Firms that can safely stay open and support livelihoods should not be forced to close by misunderstandings about government guidance.”
The HSE goes on to warn within the statement that if issues are brought to their attention on employers not complying to Public Health England guidance on social distancing where practical, it will consider a range of actions. Actions will include providing advice to employers, issuing enforcement notices and prohibition notices, it said.
The statement also encourages workers to raise any concerns on working conditions first with their employer or trade union. If issues can’t be resolved locally, workers can approach their local authority or HSE directly for help here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm
Read the full statement here