Sunderland City Council is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to make sure the city’s businesses are COVID-secure.
This will involve council environmental health officers and officers from the HSE contacting businesses across the city to check that they have measures in place to help tackle Covid.
There may also be spot checks to ensure businesses are following the guidelines around measures such as social distancing, cleaning regimes and hand hygiene.
Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is about working with our businesses to make sure that they are following the guidance in place to keep us all safe.
“We are going to be talking to local businesses as we have done throughout the pandemic, and visiting and inspecting sites across the city to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity.
“Being COVID-secure needs to be the priority for all businesses in Sunderland. It’s a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from Covid.
“This means making business adjustments to become COVID-secure. We advise employers to work with their employees when implementing changes, to help increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community.”
“We’ll be providing businesses with advice and guidance during the checks to help them manage risk and protect their workers, customers and visitors.
“But where businesses are not managing this or don’t appear to be trying, we will take immediate action. This could range from providing specific advice and issuing enforcement notices to stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, it 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. For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors please read the government guidance.
HSE and council inspectors are finding some common issues across a range of sectors that 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.
Cllr Miller added: “All businesses are in scope for spot checks, which means businesses of any size, in any sector, can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are COVID-secure. Making sure businesses have measures in place to manage the risks is important to our communities as well as supporting the local and national economy.”
For the latest information and safer business guidance, see www.gov.uk