COVID-19 Aviation Health & Safety Protocol (EU)

On 15 April 2020, the European Commission, in cooperation with the President of the European Council, put forward a Joint European Roadmap setting out recommendations on lifting COVID-19 containment measures. I Blog posted about this at the time.

As called for in the Roadmap, on 13 May 2020, the Commission put forward further guidelines on how to progressively restore transport services, connectivity and free movement as swiftly as the health situation allows it, while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers. I also put a Blog post about this.

The Commission Communication mandated EASA (the European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and ECDC (the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) to issue jointly more detailed technical operational guidance for the aviation sector.

This document is here.

As the document itself says –

The purpose of this aviation health safety protocol is to provide guidance to airport operators, aeroplane operators and national aviation authorities, as well as other relevant stakeholders, on how to facilitate the safe and gradual restoration of passenger transport. This is subject to the deployment of proportionate and effective measures to protect the health of aviation personnel and passengers, by reducing the risk of SARS- CoV-2 transmission in the airport and on board aircraft as much as practicable.

COVID-19 New State Guidance (England)

UPDATE : FAQs are here

I posted this morning that new guidance would be published at 2pm today.

This new guidance comprises –

(1) the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy (60 pages) (England) – here

(2) new guidance on staying alert and social distancing (England) – here

(3) new guidance on staying safe outside the house – here

In addition, Transport for London has issued guidance asking for everyone to wear a non-medical face covering on public transport in London for the entire journey.

The London Mayor has also issued a video on social media asking all travellers on London public transport to wear a non-medical face covering for their entire journey.

The new state guidance (England) on how to wear and make a cloth face covering is here.

This is a lot to take in, and I will issue further separate Blog posts on the matter.

Workplace Organisation and Transport guidance will be issued tomorrow, so expect further Blog posts also then.

COVID-19 England Restriction Changes (England)

Last night, the UK Prime Minister addressed the nation signalling changes to the England COVID-19 Restrictions rules and guidance.

The transcript of this address (10 May) as delivered is here.

The Scottish First Minister had earlier in the day confirmed no changes in Scotland, and this had been followed by similar announcements by the leaders of the other devolved administrations, Wales and Northern Ireland.

At 2pm today, 50 pages of detail will be published, these will relate to England. At 3.30pm the UK Prime Minister will present a Ministerial Statement of the new COVID-19 Strategy to Parliament, and a debate will follow.

Tomorrow, 11 May, will see publication of new workplace guidance (I posted about this some days ago) and also new transport guidance.

I will post again when the 50 pages of detail is published.

A few details from the 10 May address (with additions from this morning’s press and media briefings and Ministers answering questions from the public) –

(1) changes will be made to outdoor exercise and transport rules, applying from Wednesday 12 May (England)

(2) those workplaces not listed in the restrictions law that had shut anyway should reopen from Wednesday 12 May (England) (adhering to new workplace guidance issued tomorrow 11 May)

(3) new transport guidance will be issued tomorrow 11 May for workers not able to work from home

(4) new outdoor exercise rules will apply from Wednesday 12 May (England)

(5) new published COVID-19 alert message (England)

(6) new published COVID19 alert levels (England)

(7) 14-day quarantine for arrivals at ports and airports (England) (date as yet unspecified)

Truckers’ Mobility Package (EU)

Two new EU Regulations and one EU Directive are being adopted imminently.

The Market Access Regulationhere – will become applicable 18 months after the Regulation enters into force

The Market Access Regulation sets rules on transport operations carried out within a national market outside a transport operator’s own country (‘cabotage’), the current system allowing a maximum of 3 operations in 7 days will remain unchanged. To prevent systematic cabotage, a ‘cooling-off’ period of 4 days will be introduced before further cabotage operations can be carried out in the same country using the same vehicle. A member state may apply these same rules to road legs of combined transport in its territory.

The Market Access Regulation will not apply in the UK.

The Posting Directivehere – will also become applicable 18 months after the Directive enters into force

The Posting Directive clarifies rules on the posting of drivers specifically how professional drivers in goods or passenger transport will benefit from the principle of the same pay for the same work at the same place. The general rule will be that if an operation is organised in such a way that the link between the driver’s work and the country of establishment remains intact, the driver will be excluded from posting rules. This means that bilateral transport operations are explicitly excluded. On the way to the destination country and on the way back, one additional activity of loading and/or unloading goods is permitted in both directions without falling under the posting regime, or there may be zero activity on the way out and up to two activities permitted on the way back. Transit is also excluded. For all other types of operations, including cabotage, the full posting regime will apply from the first day of the operation. Similar rules will apply to the carriage of passengers, with one additional stop during bilateral operations. The posting rules will also create a unified control standard, based on a communication tool developed by the Commission, to which the transport operator can send its posting declarations directly.

The Posting Directive will not apply in the UK.

The Driving Times Regulationhere – will apply 20 days after publication, with the exception of special deadlines for tachographs

The rules on maximum work and minimum rest times for drivers will remain unchanged. However, a degree of flexibility will be introduced in the organisation of work schedules for drivers in international freight transport to enable them to spend more time at home. Drivers will also have the right to return home every three or four weeks, depending on their work schedule.

The new rules confirm that the regular weekly rest period (at least 45 hours) must be spent outside the vehicle. If this rest period is taken away from home, the accommodation must be paid for by the employer.

Although the regular weekly rest period cannot be taken in a parking area, the EU will promote the construction and use of safe and secure parking areas. The Commission will develop standards and a certification procedure for such parking areas through secondary legislation. It will also create a website to make it easier to find these areas.

The Driving Times Regulation will apply in the UK, as Retained EU Law.

The three documents are, however, linked, it is a package. Since one will apply in the UK and the others will not, we will need to wait further instruction on the detail.

For example (re linkage) – to ensure a level playing field between operators using different vehicles, rules on access to the European road haulage market, as well as driving and rest-time rules, will be extended to cover vans used in international transport (light commercial vehicles of over 2.5 tonnes), with a transition period of 21 months for market supervision, and until the middle of 2026 for tachograph and rest‑time rules.

Also (re linkage) to combat the phenomenon of ‘letterbox companies’, the new package tightens the link between the transport operator’s place of establishment and its activities. To ensure that the link is genuine, trucks in international transport will have to return to the company’s operational centre at least once every eight weeks. This eight-week period is designed to allow drivers to return home, together with the vehicle, at the end of their second four-weekly work cycle.

One key element for improving enforcement is having a reliable way to register when and where the truck has crossed a border and to localise loading and unloading activities. The second version of the smart tachograph will do all this automatically. It will be introduced in three different stages for vehicles carrying out international transport. New trucks will have to be fitted with this device in 2023; those vehicles which have an analogue or digital tachograph will have to be retrofitted by the end of 2024; and those equipped with a ‘version 1’ smart tachograph, in 2025.

To improve cross-border monitoring of compliance, the text also modernises the rules for information sharing and administrative cooperation between member states.

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.