News Item: Covid-19 Practical Guidance for England Update
The Prime Minister and Health Secretary have confirmed that almost all legal restrictions will be removed from 19th July, in line with Step 4 of the Roadmap.
The government officials have advised that moving to Step 4 is a balance of risks and the public should continue to be cautious. The majority of covid restrictions will end on 19th July and guidance will emphasise personal responsibility.
The guidance will be reviewed in September but in the meantime there is encouragement to wear face coverings in crowded public spaces and for a gradual return to the workplace.
The requirement to self-isolate, if required, remains in place. Further guidance can be found on the government website.
Although the majority of legal restrictions will be removed and people will be expected to protect themselves and others through informed choice, the government expects and recommends face coverings to be worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, such as public transport, when mixing with people you don't normally meet.
While the government is no longer instructing people to work from home, they are advising that a return to the workplace should be gradual and businesses should follow the published guidance.
Positive cases and contacts of positive cases identified by NHS Test and Trace will still be legally required to self-isolate, to help break chains of transmission. There will be an isolation exemption for contacts of positive cases for under 18s and for double vaccinated adults from 16th August.
It is vital that we proceed with caution, this pandemic is not over. It is clear with new variants such as the Delta Variant that the coronavirus disease continues to carry risks for all our colleagues, customers, families and friends. We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday 19th July to life as it was before Covid.
In line with the latest guidance it would be therefore appropriate to review risk assessments, control measures and to continue to act responsibly to protect our colleagues and customers. We must therefore continue to take appropriate measures to minimise the risk of infection having made effective progress in our efforts over the last 18-months. This will continue to help minimise disruption to trading operations.
It is therefore appropriate to continue to implement many of the control measures we have already put in place to minimise the spread of infection whilst at work to protect our colleagues, customers and their families including social distancing, the use of screens, adequate ventilation, one-way systems, face coverings, face visors, enhanced cleaning arrangements, hand washing and hand sanitising arrangements, work bubbles, temperature checks, displaying appropriate signs and customer notices etc.
From Monday 19th July the government has advised "Face coverings are no longer required by law". However, the government expects and recommends that people "continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces." It said this would apply to settings including offices, factories, and shops.
With regards to work carried out on Construction sites the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) position is, 'Where workers on-site are not required to wear Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and their workplace (which may include welfare and changing facilities, site offices or site meeting rooms) is crowded or enclosed, or they come into contact with others they do not normally meet, their employer should make face coverings available and it is expected and recommended that they should be worn.'
Businesses must decide what is appropriate to each individual location and circumstances. This may include, for example; introducing lateral flow testing, flexible working arrangements, hybrid working arrangements etc.
Current HSE Guidance for RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) reporting of COVID-19 details:
You should only make a report under RIDDOR when one of the following circumstances applies:
- an accident or incident at work has, or could have, led to the release or escape of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
- a person at work (a worker) has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a case of disease
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent
HAE EHA will continue to provide further announcements and useful information regarding Covid-19.