Businesses in Wales will have to carry out a specific coronavirus risk assessment under new Welsh Government legislation.
These risk assessments will be the starting point for implementing the reasonable measures that are required to be taken to minimise exposure to the coronavirus on premises open to the public and in workplaces.
This involves considering issues such as:
- whether ventilation is adequate;
- ensuring physical distancing is taking place;
- use of PPE and face coverings.
It will also include considering how employers maximise the number of people who can work from home.
The highly contagious new strain of the virus means we have had to look again at the rules regulating workplaces and premises that remain open to the public.
During his weekly press conference the First Minister will thank businesses for all their efforts to ensure their premises are safe places to work and visit.
First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:
“Risk assessments must be reviewed and updated regularly, whenever circumstances change and I want to make clear in law this includes whenever the coronavirus Alert levels change in Wales.
“Recording the risk assessment will only be required by those who employ five or more people. We are working closely with employers, trade unions, Local Authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to consider the detail on how to keep work settings safe.
“Ministers have also met this week with key retailers to discuss their vital role during the pandemic. They set out the actions they are taking from providing sanitisers for hands and trolleys on entry; limiting the numbers in store at any one time; and making regular announcements reminding people to keep their distance from others.
“We will strengthen regulations to ensure retailers take these steps so that their premises are as safe as possible for shoppers and their employees alike. Many are already operating high standards and we need to raise the bar for those who could and should improve.
“However we all have a personal responsibility to help make shops as safe as possible. We all need to shop alone if we can, observe the 2m rule, practise good hand hygiene and wear a face covering unless exempt. Any abuse directed at store employees who remind people of their responsibilities will not be tolerated.”
Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said:
“Business understands that there can be no return to normal until transmission is significantly curtailed. That’s why firms across Wales have worked tirelessly to keep their shops, offices and factories Covid secure for customers and employees.
“This latest announcement largely formalises processes that businesses are already doing. Support and advice around implementation, rather than an enforcement-first approach, on issues like ventilation will help to get premises get up to speed as quickly and safely as possible.
“The news that Wales will not follow in Scotland’s footsteps by restricting click & collect services is also hugely welcome. For many firms, click & collect has been a lifeline by providing an invaluable low-contact revenue stream during the pandemic.”