If you employ people then you should review your risk assessments based on the most up to date information provided by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and take appropriate action.
In Northern Ireland the Public Health Agency (PHA) are taking the lead and co-ordinating all advice and information. Their website can be accessed via the link below and should contain the most up to date local information and guidance:
HSENI Contact details during the pandemic
During the pandemic, if you need to contact HSENI please refer to our contact page below:
Implications of COVID-19 on Health and Safety at Work Statutory Provisions
HSENI recognise the additional burdens and concerns caused to businesses because of the staffing and financial aspects of COVID 19. However, it is important that businesses continue to address health and safety issues and prevent injury or ill health, not only in compliance with regulations, but also to reduce the burden on health services who may be under severe pressures dealing with COVID-19 cases.
Employers should continue to assess risk, and look at the application of current COVID-19 guidance and how this relates to the risks in their own workplaces. It will likely warrant changes in certain practices, and where this is the case employers should look at the impact on general risk control procedures and measures, reassessing them if applicable. This includes building-in suitable cover and capacity for safety critical processes.
The overarching aim always being to reduce the risk to as low a level as is reasonably practicable and in doing so, protect employees and the public and also reduce the burden on the health service.
HSENI is working through various statutory implications of the measures being introduced as a direct result of COVID-19 and will aim to provide as much advice and guidance as possible over coming days.
As the situation continues to develop, risk assessments and measures taken should be updated regularly as new advice or information is provided.
The following frequently asked health and safety questions, will attempt to provide further guidance on where some of these impacts will be felt in industry and beyond.
If you have any further questions these should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. This document will be updated on an ongoing basis.
Health and safety related FAQs during COVID-19
HSENI has produced some guidance and advice on frequently asked health and safety at work questions amid the Coronavirus pandemic:
Example risk assessment template for workplaces during COVID-19
HSENI has produced an example risk assessment which shows the kind of approach HSENI expects a small business or workplace to take when carrying out a risk assessment for Covid19 in your workplace.
Legionella risk associated with the operation of wet cooling plant
HSENI would like to remind dutyholders about the risk from legionella bacteria associated with the operation of wet cooling plant amid the Coronavirus outbreak:
Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
For advice and information on Respiratory Protective Equipment please see our topic page:
- Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
- Fit testing face masks to avoid transmission: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Further sources of information
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers
HSE has published guidance on how to apply for a derogation from the requirements for product authorisations for propan-2-ol/isopropanol hand sanitiser products. There is also updated information on Article 95 requirements for alcohol active substances to be used in hand sanitiser products:
- Manufacture and supply of biocidal hand sanitiser products during the outbreak: coronavirus - HSE (GB) website
Advice for manufactures of biocidal hand sanitiser products
Under the UK Regulations that implemented the EU Biocidal Products Directive (98/8/EC), information on biocidal products had to be sent to the National Poisons Information Service by anyone placing a biocidal product on the UK market for the first time. This requirement continued to apply until the 31 August 2013 when the BPD was replaced by the EU Biocides Regulations 528/2012 (EU BPR). The position under the EU BPR that applied from 1 September 2013 is currently being developed and will be updated once the position is finalised. From 1 September 2013 onwards it is recommended that suppliers of biocidal products continue to supply the information listed to NPIS as a matter of good practice so that NPIS can continue to provide information to medical practitioners to help them deal with any incidents involving biocidal products.
During this current Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic there has been an increase in the number of manufacturers of biocidal products such as alcohol based hand sanitisers. All companies involved in this work are requested to supply the information to the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) as a matter of good practice so that NPIS can continue to provide information to medical practitioners to help them deal with any incidents involving biocidal products. .
Decontamination in non-healthcare settings
Guidance has also been developed by Public Health England on decontamination and cleaning of areas where a possible or confirmed COVID-19 case has spent time while symptomatic:
- Latest chemicals news for Northern Ireland - updated 26 May 2022 26 May 2022
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- Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland Annual Report and Accounts 2020-2021 27 April 2022
- HSENI Safety Alert: Ear loop respirators/masks do not provide protection as tight fitting RPE 26 April 2022