Providers are reminded that the HSE is carrying out (often unannounced) spot checks on employers in all types of businesses to ensure workplaces are Covid-19 secure.
Visits might be carried out by the HSE, or by agents acting on their behalf. In the latter’s case, they should carry a letter of authorisation from the HSE, in addition to identification from whichever business they work for.
For further information, the HSE website contains a short 2 minute video explaining what employers can expect.
If the HSE find concerns during spot checks, enforcement action could follow. However, if Providers are keeping up to date with relevant guidance, maintaining good Infection Prevention and Control measures, and proper risk assessments and social distancing measures are in place (particularly in respect of staff) and are being monitored, reviewed and adhered to, they needn’t be worried. If they are not, this is the time to ensure all suitable measures are in place.
As with any regulatory checks or inspections, providers would be minded to ensure that there is always someone on shift who has good knowledge of a businesses’ Covid-19 plans so that these can be explained properly to the HSE during a visit, if necessary. Further, where there might be any activity in the service which may appear – on the face of it – to depart from the guidance in respect of an employee (for example, in not requiring the use of PPE by staff because of a service user’s individual, assessed needs) this should be clearly documented, and staff should know where to find those records if the HSE ask to see them.
Providers are reminded that if they fail to cooperate with HSE (or their properly authorised agents), it can lead to enforcement action.
If Providers need further information or advice on engagement with the HSE during or after spot checks, or other regulatory matters, Ridouts can assist. Providers can contact us by telephone on 0207 317 0340 or request a call back via the contact us page on our website.