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EHSsential: environment, health and safety news - COVID-19 edition

  • United Kingdom
  • Environment
  • Health and safety
  • Litigation and dispute management




So what now? Where low occupancy poses water-borne risks

Most organisations during this pandemic have rightly focused on the health and safety of employees and the general public in tackling the spread of the virus. Whilst those who can are advised to stay away from work, office and retail environments, a vacant or partially vacant property still requires management. Philip Crosbie, Principal Associate and Sarah Valentine, Senior Associate explore the management of water systems in particularly Legionella bacteria.

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Work related deaths

The guidance on the implications of COVID-19 continues to be an ever changing picture. On 3 April the HSE issued guidance on the requirement to report COVID-19 cases under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). Sarah Valentine, Senior Associate discusses the duty to report work related COVID19 deaths to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Coroner. Also what is the reporting threshold and is there a blanket duty to report and investigate or is it on a case by case basis?

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Critical role of managers in supporting wellbeing in the workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health and wellbeing to the fore in many organisations. More than ever, it is important that organisations revisit how they are supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce. So how should line managers approach this when the workforce is out of sight but should not be out of mind? Amy Sadro, Principal Associate explored this further.

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Advice note - Remote/home working during the coronavirus outbreak

Employers are facing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus, which for some mean that a significant proportion, if not all, of its workforce are working from home, at short notice, potentially over an extended period of time. Tim Hill, Head of EHS and Amy Sadro, Principal Associate consider some of the health and safety issues employers need to consider as a result of the coronavirus.

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Safety considerations: Premises closure

Many businesses are faced with the difficult decision as to whether they can continue with their operations at this unprecedented time. Organisations who finds themselves closing premises or streamlining operations at their sites must ensure systems and procedures are in place to manage any risks to health and safety. Catherine Henney, Principal Associate and Sarah Valentine, Senior Associate look into this in further.

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Temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours

In response to unprecedented pressures on supply chains, the Department for Transport (DfT) has introduced a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers' hours and GB drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales. These measures reflect the exceptional circumstances arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, and the DfT has made it clear that they should only be used where necessary, and that driver safety must not be compromised as a result. Philip Crosbie, Principal Associate and Laura Shirley, Principal Associate examine this further.

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Considerations for food businesses operating during COVID-19

From 20 March, UK pubs, restaurants and cafes have been closed as part of the government response to COVID-19. In an effort to stay afloat many food businesses are looking to diversify, with some offering takeaway and pick up services for the first time. Laura Shirley, Principal Associate and Natascha Gaut, Senior Associate consider the additional food hygiene hazards and issues this may present.

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Managing food businesses during Covid-19

During these turbulent times especially for the UK food industry, some businesses are seeing an unprecedented demand for food, others are struggling to survive following site closures. Laura Shirley, Principal Associate and Natascha Gaut, Senior Associate examine how to manage food businesses during these unprecedented times.

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Enforcement of food safety offences - Update

FSA report on the approach to regulatory enforcement and sanctions acknowledging that the food law has historically relied upon criminal sanctions however it is now evident that food prosecutions have and will continue to be brought against food business operators. The two trends which appear to be particularly relevant at present includes Allergens and Food Fraud. Laura Shirley, Principal Associate Natascha Gaut, Senior Associate and Prem Thakor, Associate examine this further.

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MEES: requirements for letting residential properties from 1 April 2020

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (“MEES Regulations”) provide that from 1 April 2018, it is unlawful for a Landlord of private rented property to grant a tenancy to a new or existing tenant unless the property has an EPC rating of “E” or above. From 1 April 2020 this prohibition on letting substandard property was extended to all tenancies of residential properties meaning a Landlord cannot continue to legally let a residential property unless the property has an EPC rating of “E” or above. Jane Southworth, Partner and Rachael Tattersall, Associate examine this.

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COVID-19 Health and Safety and Employment Clinics

A series of EHS-led COVID-19 Health and Safety and Employment Clinics take place regularly providing participants with an opportunity for a live Q&A format. These are led by our Health & Safety Partner Paul Verrico. Please find a recording of the webinars here.

To find out more click here to access the EHS website