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 (EU)

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 EU member states and at EU level.

The EU’s Brexit measures are found here.

[the first round of negotiations on a trade deal with the UK to operate from 1st January 2021 was held 2-5 March, the second round is not scheduled]

[the EU published a new draft legal text on 18 March here, new UK legal texts submitted to the EU in March are not published]

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

[note the measures announced to keep air cargo moving – here]

The EU’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 EU-26 Registers & Checklists will be at the next 6-month interval (as usual). Ireland receives monthly Email Alerts due to its connectivity with the UK (its next Email Alert is end of March unless otherwise a different interval is operated).

Subscribers are reminded that they can request Annual Review (a teleconference) on renewal of annual subscriptions, and this is recommended.

Of particular note are –

(1) changes around borders, goods transport and people mobility to keep the Single Market open during the COVID-19 pandemic

(2) measures that may result from the EU-UK trade deal negotiations

Individual member states will be operating internal COVID-19 emergency –

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

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

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

COVID-19 EU Single Market Green Lanes (EU)

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

On 16th March, the European Commission adopted Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services.

These Guidelines stress the principle that all EU internal borders should stay open to freight and that the supply chains for essential products must be guaranteed. The free flow of goods, especially in times of emergency and in the interest of all, requires that Member States respect and fully implement the Guidelines at all border-crossings at internal borders.

A separate European Commission Communication – here – is designed to help Member States implement the Guidelines as regards the green lanes.

As the document states, it is intended to engender a cooperative process across the EU to ensure all freight, including but not limited to essential goods such as food and medical supplies, gets quickly to its destination without any delays.

Per the Communication summary –

In order to preserve the EU-wide operation of supply chains and ensure the functioning of the Single Market for goods, wherever internal border controls exist or have been introduced Member States are requested to designate immediately all the relevant internal border-crossing points of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) and additional ones to the extent deemed necessary, as “green lane” border crossings – for land (road and rail), sea and air transport.

Going through these “green lane” border crossings, including any checks and health screening of transport workers, should not exceed 15 minutes on internal land borders. The “green lane” border crossings should be open to all freight vehicles carrying any type of goods.

Member States should act immediately to temporarily suspend all types of road access restrictions in place in their territory (week-end bans, night bans, sectoral bans, etc.) for road freight transport and for the necessary free movement of transport workers.

Transport workers, irrespective of their nationality and place of residence, should be allowed to cross internal borders. Restrictions such as travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine of transport workers, should be waived, without prejudice for competent authorities to take proportionate and specifically adapted measures to minimise the risk of contagion.

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.

Temporary Guidance re Drivers (COVID-19 UK)

UPDATE : the government instructions (dated 20 March) are here

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) bulletin service issued a notice re drivers on temporary arrangements for hours of work and access to welfare facilities – here

(1) All drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work.

More information is here

(2) The Department for Transport (DfT) announced a temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland, and Wales for the drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of:

• food

• non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning)

• over the counter pharmaceuticals

Driver safety must not be compromised, and they should not be expected to drive whilst tired.  Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees, other road users, and anyone involved in loading and unloading vehicles.

Further information is here

Freight transport COVID-19 guidance is here

UK-EU CFTA (UK Brexit)

I posted earlier about the UK policy paper published on its proposed Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with the EU.

Note : the UK government has since notified it does not wish to seek continued relationship with EASA (the EU’s aviation safety regulator) or EWRS (the EU’s early warning and response system), and it will not seek a waiver from the EU’s safety and security declarations. Accordingly, it envisages (and has notified relevant GB business via stakeholder notice, reported in the Daily Telegraph this morning) the EU will implement the UCC safety and security requirements on GB-EU trade. The UK will set its own requirements.

These EASA and EWRS aspects were already reported in the press.

The extract published by the Daily Telegraph’s Peter Foster (twitter) indicates the UK’s Border Delivery Group (BDG) expects to publish further on the matter of safety and security declarations at the end of March.

Please remember, different arrangements will apply in Northern Ireland.

This Blog does not focus on customs, vat or tariffs.