COVID-19 EA Regulatory Position Statements (England)

I posted before about the Environment Agency’s Regulatory Position Statements (RPS), and the fact that the Agency is publishing RPS for the COVID-19 crisis.

Yesterday 21st April, the EA has issued further COVID-19 RPS. Here

You will note there are now quite a few of them.

COVID-19 EU-OSHA Guidance for the Workplace (EU)

On 6th April, EU-OSHA issued Guidance for the Workplace applicable in EU member states and other places that recognise EU-OSHA. Here

This guidance is designed to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff in non-healthcare settings on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

It explains how to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19 and what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in the workplace.

There is also advice on travel and meetings as well as links to further information and resources.

Please read carefully.

[this document will be added to Cardinal Environment Ltd EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists covering EU member states]

COVID-19 Waste Management Practices (EU)

On the 14th April, the European Commission issued a document to guide EU member states in their management of waste during the COVID-19 crisis. Here

This document reiterates advice from EU-OSHA (separate blog post) on workplace management of COVID-19.

The EU waste management document spells out instructions applying in households, healthcare situations, and in waste management companies.

COVID-19 European Roadmap to Lifting Containment Measures (EU)

On 15th April, the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council issued a Joint Roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 containment measures (applicable in the EU). Here

The Roadmap builds on the expertise and the advice provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Commission’s Advisory Panel on COVID-19 and takes into account the experience and outlook from a number of Member States as well as guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Roadmap sets out recommendations to EU Member States, with the goal of preserving public health while gradually lifting containment measures (including border controls) to restart community life and the economy. It is not a signal that containment measures can be lifted immediately but intends to inform Member States’ actions and provide a frame for ensuring EU-level and cross-border coordination, while recognising the specificity of each Member State.

The specific epidemiological situation, territorial organisation, healthcare service arrangements, population distribution or economic dynamics are some of the factors that might affect Member States’ decisions on where, when and how measures are lifted. Attention will also be needed for the situation of the countries in the EU’s neighbourhood.

The emphasis throughout the document is on testing, and that the release should be gradual.

COVID-19 Workplace Social Distancing (2) (Wales)

New legislation is in force – The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 – these will be added to Subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Law Checklists COVID-19 Law List.

These amend the Welsh Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations issued earlier (in the COVID-19 Law List) to give legal underpinning to the Workplace Social Distancing requirement –

New Regulation 6A –

6A.—(1) A person responsible for work being carried out at premises where a person is working must, when such work is being carried out during the emergency period, take all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer).

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to premises used in the carrying on of a business, or provision of a service, listed in Schedule 1.

Schedule 1 is the Schedule 1 in main Welsh Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations that sets out the businesses subject to restrictions or closure.

New Regulation 7A inserts an obligation to have regard to guidance issued to Welsh Ministers on workplace social distancing (see blog post earlier this morning).

COVID-19 Information for Businesses (Ireland)

NSAI (the National Standards Authority of Ireland) issued (27th March) a Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide – here.

This recommends Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness to stay home if they are well enough to do so or contact the health service if they are acutely unwell. They should not come to work and should restrict their movements for 14 days from symptom onset, the last five days of which should be fever free.

Employers can also put up appropriate signage on their premises and generally communicate the HSE (Health Service Executive) recommendations to prevent infection spread. The HSE have created posters which employers can use which are available here.

The Department of Health has (26th March) issued guidance for supply chain workers – here.

This specifies that Drivers should follow social isolation guidelines. This applies both when they are abroad and also in Ireland. This means they should limit their contact with others to the greatest extent possible both during work time and when not working. If contact with others is unavoidable, leave a distance of at least 2 metres.

Instructions are set out for shop workers and other workers.

The HSE has general guidance (1st April) – here.

This specifies people movement restrictions.

The government’s essential services detail (published 28th March) in the general stay at home instruction until the 12th April is here.

The government’s public health measures in place until 12th April (published 1st April) is here.

The government introduced emergency legislation to restrict movement two-and-a-half weeks ago.

But according to Irish broadcaster RTÉ, gardaí had no powers to enforce it because the necessary regulations had not been signed.

Mr Harris signed the regulations on Tuesday night (last night).

COVID-19 Workplace Social Distancing (Northern Ireland)

The Northern Irish government has issued Workplace Social Distancing guidance – here.

Note the careful listing of business activities that may remain open under the law, distinguishing between essential and non-essential.

Any business that does remain open must follow the hygiene and social distancing rules here.

I blog posted before about rules issued in Northern Ireland – see the Northern Ireland category in the Blog archive.

COVID-19 Workplace Social Distancing (Wales)

The Welsh government has issued guidance on Workplace Social Distancing – here.

This emphasises hygiene, home working, and the general (UK wide) requirement for businesses to take all reasonable measures to ensure a distance of 2 metres is maintained between people on their premises and waiting to enter their premises.

Please read carefully.

COVID-19 Workplace Social Distancing (Scotland)

The Scottish Government has issued guidance for businesses and on the matter of social distancing – here.

Note the emphasis on essential services – Scotland’s government advises that all business premises, sites and attractions not required by law to close should close now unless:

• essential to the health and welfare of the country during this crisis (as defined in relation to Scotland’s Critical National Infrastructure set out in the Link), or

• supporting (or being repurposed to support) essential services, or

• wider public health, health and safety or other considerations apply and require a facility or service to continue to operate or a specific period of time for a safe shutdown process to be completed, and

• apart from in exceptional circumstances critical to lives and safety, capable of working in a way which is fully consistent with established social distancing advice.

This information is part of a set of COVID-19 guidance issued by the Scottish Government – here.

COVID-19 Workplace Social Distancing (England)

This morning (7th April) the government published guidance on social distancing in different workplaces (England) – here.

It is a list of tailored advice for different scenarios as an example of how social distancing and other measures might be implemented by employers in England to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus while still continuing to trade.

The information covers –

(1) Shops running a pick-up or delivery service

(2) Tradespeople and working in people’s homes

(3) Construction

(4) Manufacturing and processing businesses

(5) Retail

(6) Logistics businesses

(7) Outdoor businesses

(8) Farming: visiting farms for animal health and welfare

(9) Fishing or other short-term offshore work

(10) Cargo-shipping or other long-term offshore work

(11) Transport businesses

(12) Waste management businesses

Separate guidance is issued by the governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (separate Blog posts).

The general UK government guidance to business, employers and employees is here.