COVID-19 PPE specification (UK)

The government (DHSC) has today (31st March) published its PPE specification – here.

This covers –

(1) gowns,

(2) masks, including respirator masks and hoods

(3) eye protection

General requirements

(1) All products must have their CE marking clearly evident on the product and/or packaging and must conform to the relevant directive:

Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745

(2) Any product that contains phthalates must be indicated on the packaging in accordance with:

Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745.
Personal Protective Equipment Directive 89/686/EEC

(3) In accordance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) (COSHH) safety data sheets for all products that fall under this Regulation must be provided to NHS Supply Chain.

(4) All products and packaging should be latex free where possible. Any products or packaging containing latex must be clearly labelled as such to inform the user.

(5) All products must be supplied with a minimum 3 years shelf life from the date of manufacture.

(6) Where applicable all products must be supplied with instructions for use and disposal/recycling instructions or symbols printed in English.

Please read the attached link – here – for the detailed requirements applicable to each product group.

COVID-19 Factory & Transport Guidance (UK)

Manufacturing, factories and transport operations are not listed as restricted operations and are expected to stay open, with the workplace adjusted to ensure social distancing, and symptomatic workers sent home to recover. Some operations will also be able to be carried out via home working.

Transport workers are classed as essential workers with respect to their children attending school.

Guidance (rules) issued so far –

(1) food businesses – here

(2) Northern Ireland food and drink industry guidance – here

(3) transport – here

(4) freight transport – here

(5) marine settings of shipping and ports – here

Guidance (rules) for all employers, employees and businesses is here.

Guidance (rules) on cleaning is here.

The Health and Safety Executive also has guidance (rules) – here. (I blog posted about this yesterday)

Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland guidance (rules) – here

COVID-19 New HSE Guidance (UK)

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has new COVID-19 guidance – here.

Covering –

(1) face masks

(2) hand sanitisers

(3) diver’s medical certificate

(4) driver welfare and hours (I blog posted before about this)

(5) health/medical surveillance

(6) protecting home workers

Plus links to key gov.uk issued guidance – note the employees, employers and businesses one was updated yesterday.

NOTE Subscribers will see a new COVID-19 compiled list of law and guidance loaded into their Occupational Health and Safety Registers from Tuesday. Find this near the Brexit lists.

STAY SAFE

Brexit and COVID-19 measures (UK)

The UK left the EU at end of January 2020, and will leave the transition period at end of December 2020.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11th March 2020.

These two events are prompting substantive changes in many occupational, health and safety, and environment related measures in the UK (substantive measures are also being taken in other countries, and at EU level).

The UK’s Brexit measures are found here.

[the vast majority of the UK’s Brexit measures are unchanged since any update made in February 2020]

The UK’s COVID-19 measures are found here.

[the vast majority of the UK’s COVID-19 measures date March 2020]

The UK’s Brexit and the COVID-19 measures are rooted in law. Cardinal Environment Limited advises on occupational health and safety law and environmental law via Email Alert to subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists. The next Email Alert on UK Registers & Checklists will be at end March (the monthly UK Email Alert as usual).

Subscribers are reminded that they can request Annual Review (a teleconference) on renewal of annual subscriptions.

Of particular note are –

(1) changes around borders

(2) changes around goods transport

(3) changes around people mobility, including across borders

(4) changes around workplace organisation, particularly additional requirements to keep the workplace safe and provide for home working

(5) temporary bans on the opening of some business premises on health grounds

(6) changes around worker employment (this Blog does not address detailed matters of Employment Law)

Coronavirus/COVID-19 measures (UK)

UPDATE : the general guidance for employers, employees and business includes these additional stipulations –

• businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible

• if someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home and advised to follow the advice to stay at home

• employees should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues

• frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products

• employees will need your support to adhere to the recommendation to stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to others

Last week saw a raft of measures and the first legislation compelling action. These are compiled online – here.

Of particular note to this Blog are –

(1) the mandated closure of some workplaces and all workplace canteens where food is sold – here plus law on the matter here (England) and here (Wales)

[note the workplace canteen exceptions in the law]

(2) the definition of key worker – found in the guidance for schools closure – here

(3) the definitions of “self-isolating”, “social distancing” and “shielding” and the cohorts these apply to

“Self-isolating” – here

“Social distancing” – here

“Shielding” – here

(4) the relaxation of drivers’ hours (I blog posted about this last week) – here

(5) changes to Planning Inspectorate site visits, appeals, inquiries and events – here

(6) changes to Courts and tribunals planning and preparation – here

[note there are also changes to HSE and Environment Agency, and other regulator, site visits etc which are published in their own online web resources]

(7) general guidance for employers, employees and businesses – here

(8) guidance on the cleaning of workplace surfaces – here

(9) shipping and sea ports guidance – here

(10) restriction of non-essential rail travel – here

[note the London Mayor has announced reductions in TFL transport and transport in London, including by driving, should be for essential travel only]

[transport by driving outside of London should also be essential travel only]

The advice for anyone in any setting is to follow these main guidelines.

1 The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

2 Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.

3 To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.

4 Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

Coronavirus Bill (UK)

UPDATE (Thursday 19th March) : all stages of the Coronavirus Bill will be taken in the Commons on Monday (not today) – the timetable in the Lords is not published

As we are all aware, coronavirus COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has identified that to effectively manage this coronavirus outbreak in the UK, new fast-tracked legislation is required – termed the Coronavirus Bill.

The legislation will be time-limited – for 2 years – and not all of these measures will come into force immediately. The bill allows the 4 UK governments to switch on these new powers when they are needed, and, crucially, to switch them off again once they are no longer necessary, based on the advice of Chief Medical Officers of the 4 nations.

This Blog does not focus on the specifics of the healthcare sector or social care, but there are some areas in this Bill, that this Blog does track – the Bill :

(1) enables the Home Secretary to request that port and airport operators temporarily close and suspend operations if Border Force staff shortages result in a real and significant threat to the UK’s border security. This is to ensure the UK can maintain adequate border security throughout the pandemic and protect the public from the threat of criminality or importation of prohibited items that could result from an inadequately controlled border. This would only be used in extremis, where necessary and proportionate, and any direction will be kept to the minimum period necessary to maintain the security of the UK border

(2) enables the government to restrict or prohibit events and gatherings during the pandemic in any place, vehicle, train, vessel or aircraft, any movable structure and any offshore installation and, where necessary, to close premises

(3) enables the police and immigration officers to detain a person, for a limited period, who is, or may be, infectious and to take them to a suitable place to enable screening and assessment

(4) requires industry to provide information about food supplies, in the event that an industry partner does not co-operate with current voluntary information-sharing arrangements during a period of potential disruption.

Link to details about the Coronavirus Bill.

This Bill is expected to become law on Thursday.

UK Chemicals Regulation (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October 2019

I posted before on UK Chemicals Regulation after UK Exit. This is a reminder post.

On the 25th March, HSE (the UK REACH chemicals regulator) published further instructions on access to UK REACH – here.

[the UK documents endlessly refer to a “Deal” – this is the Withdrawal Agreement, and for our purposes merely provides a new Exit day of 31st December 2020, not new trade arrangements with the EU]

These HSE instructions make it clear the online service ‘Comply with UK REACH’ will replace ECHA’s REACH-IT platform for UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), from Exit day.

Live on Exit day, the new online system will allow:

* Businesses that have existing UK-held REACH registrations to validate their registrations (‘grandfathering’)

* Businesses that import chemicals from the EEA to submit downstream user import notifications

* Business to register new substance registrations or PPORD notifications (Product and Process Orientated Research and Development)

In order to minimise disruption to in the event of a no-deal Brexit, businesses that currently hold a REACH registration are encouraged to access their ECHA REACH-IT account and ensure that all the information relating to their business is downloaded. Information required to comply with UK REACH includes registration confirmation documents and ECHA decisions.

Under the new requirements, from Exit day –

* UK businesses that manufacture a chemical (those currently registered to EU REACH) will need to validate their existing registration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 120 days of the UK leaving the EU.

* UK businesses that import a chemical substance from the EU will need to notify HSE within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU.

* UK businesses that export chemicals to the EU will need to have an EU REACH registration in place once the UK leaves the EU.

In addition, more technical information will need to be submitted by businesses to HSE within two years of EU Exit.

Current HSE instructions are here.

[the Exit day may change, please continue to follow this Blog]