A reader was disturbed this week by a visit from an official from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). What the official said appears to bode ill for the idea that the U.K. is ‘living with Covid’ insofar as that means moving away from all the Covid theatre and regulations of the past two years.
I work in a London hospitality business. This week an official from the HSE came in to do a Covid compliance spot check. Despite the Government making noises about Covid regulations being binned, the HSE person informed us that from April businesses with more than five employees will still be required to adhere to general ‘Covid safe’ practices, under the threat of enforcement proceedings (and fines) by the HSE.
Overhearing what the HSE official told the General Manager, it sounded to me as though it will involve keeping a Covid risk management plan in place and ensuring ventilation, access to sanitiser for customers and so on.
Most of it was asking questions about Covid management actions we have taken and are still taking. It implied that, so far as the HSE is concerned, Covid is a now a ‘standard’ risk which needs to continue to be managed alongside others.
So briefly, it appears:
– they are doing Covid spot checks insofar as they apply to employees;
– they will be increasing spot checks from April.
This suggests the perpetuation of Covid regulations will be enforced under the guise of general health and safety law. Not as advertised by the Government at all if so, and hardly reflects ‘living with Covid’ like we live with other mostly mild respiratory viruses.
Runs counter to the official narrative of a bonfire of Covid restrictions.
If the Government is serious about moving on from the pandemic then it needs to rein in the HSE and withdraw its guidance that treats COVID-19 as a special threat.