COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

It is logical for Inspection Network Limited to be cognisant of the threat and dangers associated with the rapid spread of biochemical hazards such as Covid-19.

Therefore, as a demonstration of our Social Responsibility whilst maintaining a Duty of Care to our customers and field staff we are suspending all visits to locations out with our hygiene control and those not deemed to be in the Critical Industry Sector.

We have a Care & Support team working hard to keep the inspections going for the Critical Industries as well as a skeleton staff working from home to maintain the level of standards that our clients expect.

Our Care & Support Team have been busy prioritising industries within these sectors that are deemed essential to maintain the successful running of the country in these difficult times.

The following industry sectors have already been prioritised by INL in line with Government guidelines:-

  • Hospitals, GP practices and essential NHS hubs and pharmacies
  • Services and Utilities (power, water, gas, sewage, waste)
  • Schools & Academies used for essential workers child care
  • Medical Care Homes
  • Essential retail, and manufacturing, transportation hubs serving food, medical supplies, fuel etc.

With regards to equipment which is or will soon be out of date for examination, the HSE is not currently issuing exemptions or relaxing the requirements of the relevant regulations however the HSE have said that they realise this is a fluid situation and the position is consistently under review.

Should the duty holder for the business consider that their biological control is adequate and in line with the Governments guidelines and that they fall under the auspices of a Critical Industry, then on receipt of their advices we will endeavour to provide the required service.

Renew their contract as normal – Inspections will still continue to be done even if they had been deferred due to COVID-19.

No we’re not cancelling inspections whatsoever, merely in line with government guidelines we are deferring them or postponing them until this unprecendented situation is over.

As in the previous statement we have not cancelled inspections and it is more than likely that your client will get his required inspection in the contract term.

Nobody knows how long this is going to last and whilst we are being told one thing we also think we are going to be in this situation for quite some time.

It would be in order if the client made the decision to lapse the contract in full, however we must warn that we may not be able to come out to him in the requisite period when his inspections become due, due to the huge amount of deferred inspections that the inspection industry are going to have to cope with following this problem.

Yes - You must make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:

an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.

Or

a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.

If there is reasonable evidence that someone diagnosed with COVID-19 was likely exposed because of their work you must report this as an exposure to a biological agent using the case of disease report. An example of a work-related exposure to coronavirus would be a health care professional who is diagnosed with COVID-19 after treating patients with COVID-19.

We already know that the HSEs stance is that COVID-19 is reportable and that RIDDOR Forms will be required if someone falls ill with COVID-19 whilst at work.

It is also probable that the HSE will consider a range of actions from providing specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices, including prohibition notices if it comes to the HSE’s attention that employers are not complying with the relevant Public Health England guidance (including enabling social distancing where it is practical to do so).

Which means it is likely that any prosecution will be brought under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Please see enclosed an extract from the HASAW act below:

Section 3
General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees.

  1. (1) It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
  2. (2) It shall be the duty of every self-employed person who conducts an undertaking of a prescribed description to conduct the undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

Clients who describe themselves as a Critical Industry also need to be aware of their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 along with their biological/Hygiene regime in line with Public Health England’s advice.

The control measures associated with Covid-19 are likely to be reduced, or at least amended to allow British businesses to slowly begin trading again however this may not be for months yet.

In an effort to support Britain’s business to return to work in safety and without complication, we encourage you to take the same pragmatic approach adopted by the HSE, to allow you to safely use your equipment without incident for the short period of time you are without a current Report of Examination.

It is likely that this can be achieved by being proactive and diligent in adopting maintenance and checking regimes for your equipment

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently issued statement from which a key element has been extracted and embedded below, the full statement from the HSE can be read here

HSE will adopt a pragmatic and proportionate approach towards enforcement action for non-compliance with statutory requirements which are directly attributable to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Our usual enforcement response will be to take no action if the only failing is that TEST is not carried out by the required date. Equipment should only be used outside of its test regime if you can demonstrate that it is critical for essential work and that it can still be operated safely. You must be able to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to have the TEST carried out, made a thorough assessment of the increased risk and taken appropriate action to manage it.

To allow us to help you back to work safely, therefore with the over-arching legal responsibility to ensure that the equipment is safe to use, we advise you to take the following advice:

  1. (1) Assess the equipment is safe to use.
  2. (2) If the equipment is safe to use, you should decide what steps are required to continue its’ safe use until the agreed date of Periodic Examination.
  3. (3) This could be an increased maintenance regime.
  4. (4) Set up and adhere to a prior-to-use checking regime.
  5. (5) As part of your assessment you may want to consider if the equipment has been “laid up” for a period of time during the Covid-19, then the equipment may not be been exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in a dangerous condition.
  6. (6) Lastly, remove the equipment from service, if your assessment considers the equipment is not safe to use.
  7. (7) Arrange with Inspection Network Limited to complete a Periodic Examination on a mutually convenient date.

If your client contacts our team on 0131 285 4349 we will book in an engineer for them.


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