Health and Safety Information

If your business is continuing to operate, you must ensure your workplace is compliant and following health and safety regulations. 

Non-Essential Businesses

All non-essential businesses were ordered to close from 24 March 2020. 

View more information

Health and Safety Executive NI

The Health and Safety Executive have released Safety Measures Advice for businesses. 

COVID-19 Safety Measures Advice for Businesses

The HSE are aware of the current concerns, relating to the safety measures being implemented by some businesses, who are essential and continue to operate.

 Health and safety law requires employers, who continue to operate under current circumstances, to do ‘what is reasonably practicable’ to protect their staff and members of the public.

To fulfil this duty in addressing the risk from COVID-19 all companies must review their risk assessments and put in place measures to ensure the PHE / PHA guidance available from the GOV website is implemented.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19).

Specifically all employers should

  • encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible;
  • have systems in place to ensure that if someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home and advised to follow the advice to stay at home;
  • employees should be reminded to wash their hands regularly throughout the day  for at least 20 seconds on each occasion, and to sneeze into tissues and dispose of the tissues promptly – Catch it, Bin it, Kill it. (suitable washing facilities with soap and warm water or hand sanitisers must be provided);
  • frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products.

Companies should also take account of measures in the risk assessment, to follow general advice regarding distancing and ensure that it is observed between employees both at their workstations and in other areas of their premises.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people

Where this cannot be achieved within the normal working environment additional means of protection should be considered.

For example:

  1. reduce number of workers on site at any one time;
  2. relocating workers to other tasks; 
  3. redesigning processes to allow social distancing in place;
  4. put in place temporary barriers between staff;
  5. utilise technology such as teleconferencing instead of face to face meetings;
  6. adjust workflow or production line speeds.

HSENI are aware that employers are currently experiencing significant issues obtaining PPE.

Public Health guidance on the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) relates to health care settings. In all other settings individuals are asked to observe social distancing measures and practice good hand hygiene behaviours

Public Health Authority

This guidance may be updated in line with the changing situation.

It’s good practice for employers to:

  • keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
  • ensure employees who are in a vulnerable group are strongly advised to follow social distancing guidance
  • make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
  • make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace is potentially infected and needs to take the appropriate action
  • make sure there are places to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and encourage everyone to do so regularly
  • provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them

If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance.

Risk Assessment

The HSENI recommends if you employ people then you should review your risk assessments based on the most up to date information provided by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and take appropriate action.

Example Risk Assessment

HSENI has produced an example risk assessment which shows the kind of approach HSENI expects a small business or workplace to take when carrying out a risk assessment for COVID-19 in the workplace.

View example risk assessment

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Current issues can be stressful and worrying for employees and employers. 

Helplines

Lifeline: 0808 808 8000

Samaritans: 028 9066 4422

Action Mental Health

Many people find themselves in the position of having to work from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This brings with it a lot of stressful and new challenges such as, a lack of structure, distractions, blurred boundaries and isolation; affecting mental health and your well-being.

View Action Mental Health Guidance

Read Working from Home Guide

AWARE NI

Aware is the depression charity for Northern Ireland and offers support to those who need it. During the Coronavirus outbreak, Aware are offering online support groups. 

Find out more

Contact Details:

info@aware-ni.org

Take 5

Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing:

Connect

Be Active

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Mindful Manager

Action Mental Health Works team have developed a toolkit that will provide top tips on managing staff remotely, approaching conversations with staff around mental health issues and direct you to sources of further support should it be needed. 

Read more

Coronavirus Business Advice and Support

The AND business team is here to support you.

For further information or if you need help and advice, please get in touch via email or telephone 028 9147 3788