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Gloucestershire Business News

Forest businesses to get more support to help them reopen safely

While the reopening of the economy continues, Forest of Dean District Council officers are continuing to work with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to call and visit local businesses, offering help and advice on the safest operating procedures.

The aim is to help businesses make sure the right measures are in place to manage the risk from coronavirus in line with the latest government guidance.

Councillor Bernie O'Neill, cabinet member for Forest of Dean District Council said: "We've learned a lot from the last time our local businesses reopened after lockdown. Customers' confidence levels were definitely boosted by businesses that had excellent safety measures in place and were clearly communicating these to their customers and staff. The businesses that thrived were those that took this seriously.

"We will be talking to local businesses and visiting sites across Forest of Dean district to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity, and our officers are here to help with that.

"This forms part of our wider work to support our local economy during these difficult times, which has included materials to help businesses reopen, webinars providing advice and distributing vital grant funding."

Angela Storey, director of transformation and operational services at the HSE, said: "As we come out of lockdown, we are continuing to work with local authorities to check businesses are Covid-secure and provide guidance and advice where needed.

"Our spot checks and inspections support cross-government work in helping employers and employees who have worked throughout the pandemic and those returning as lockdown measures ease.

"By checking businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of local communities, as well as supporting the local and national UK economy."

The Covid-secure measures businesses should have in place include:

  • Risk assessment: every workplace should have a Covid risk assessment. Update it to reflect any changes in legislation or guidance that may impact your work activity
  • Social distancing: where possible you should keep people two metres apart. If this is not viable, keeping one metre apart with risk mitigation is acceptable
  • Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing: keeping your workplace clean reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread. It is a critical part of making and keeping a business Covid-secure.
  • Ventilation and air conditioning can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus
  • Talking to workers: provide information about providing support and maintaining control measures
  • Working from home: provide the equipment they need, keep in regular contact and discuss their wellbeing
  • Vulnerable workers: talking to staff, providing information and considering the risk to workers who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus and putting controls in place to reduce that risk

Businesses can ensure they are safe by following the guidance on being Covid-secure and find information on spot checks and inspections on the HSE website.

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