Posted: 28/05/2020

Government and HSE release guidelines for returning food businesses

The HSE has made changes to COVID-19 RIDDOR reporting rules

As the government released guidelines to keep businesses ‘COVID-secure’, including specific advice for food businesses, the HSE has announced changes to the rules around COVID-19 RIDDOR reporting.

The guidance includes measures such as increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning, complying with the 2m social distancing guidelines, and where this cannot be followed in full, considering whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so, using PPE as a secondary control.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also changed its requirements for RIDDOR reporting – The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 – to include COVID-19. This means it’s now a company’s responsibility to report whether an unintended incident at work or possible exposure to the virus, has led an employee to contract COVID-19.

Tracy Wain, of testing and certification experts Bureau Veritas, said: “While much of the food sector will already have implemented varying degrees of COVID-19 control measures, now is the time to review these and ensure their robustness in meeting the new government guidelines.

“Further to this, the recent HSE announcement that the regulator may be carrying out visits to businesses thought not to be adhering to the new coronavirus reporting process, makes the need for firms to review their safety strategy even more important.”

The news comes as the FSA issued a warning to re-opening food businesses to ensure they are aware of the risk of Legionella if their water works have remained stagnant during closure.

Read the latest edition of Fine Food Digest here.

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