Coronavirus (COVID-19) operating a business, health and safety guidance
On this page you can find guidance on how to operate your business safely during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including:
- how to do a risk assessment for your business
- health and safety guidance and government guidance for specific types of business
- how to make equipment checks
- water systems and Legionella
Make a Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk assessment for your business
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued guidance on managing risks and risk assessment at work, Coronavirus COVID-19 update
Health and safety guidance for operating your business
The way you operate your business during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will vary depending on the type of business you run Gov.UK have issued the following guidance:
- for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
- on working safely in construction and outdoors
- for restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services
- on using vehicles for work during Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes
- for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses
- for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments
- for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments
Despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic it is important that you continue to manage the significant potential hazard that equipment failure can pose to staff and the public.
Thorough examinations, written schemes and statutory inspections should still be undertaken if due, while keeping to social distancing measures.
Even if inspections are delayed, there remains a responsibility to ensure equipment is safe to use and if it is not, then it must be taken out of use.
When reopening water systems after lockdown, you must consider the risk of waterborne pathogens that can cause serious illnesses. Advice on bringing water systems back in to use:
- World Health Organisation Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus: interim guidance.
- Drinking Water Inspectorate information letter Maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating supplies after temporary closure due COVID-19 (PDF 98KB / 10 pages)
If your water systems were not drained, cleaned and disinfected before the premises were left empty, then they are at high risk for Legionella (which causes Legionnaires' disease) and other bacteria.
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health guidance Legionnaires' disease 'lockdown risks and reopening safely (PDF 414KB / 6 pages).
Bringing a private water supply back in to use
When you are bringing private water supplies back into use you must have a system of checks to ensure that treatment systems are turned on and are operating correctly as per the manufacturers’ instructions. You will need to check:
- to ensure that UV lamps are on and check if the lamps are due to be changed and that quartz sleeves are clean
- all filters and change and/or renew if required
- the source of the source of the supply and clear away any potential contaminants
- the condition of any storage tanks to ensure that they are clean and have sealed watertight lids and are vermin proof
Stored water should be fully refreshed every seven days so any water which has been stored for a longer time should be flushed away as the quality will have deteriorated.
You should consider disinfecting storage tanks and pipework using a solution of 50mg/L free chlorine. After disinfection this solution must be flushed away to remove any chlorination by-products (for example where chlorine may bind with organic or inorganic matter to produce Trihalomethanes which are potentially harmful to health) and to ensure that any residual free chlorine is below 1 mg/L which will be consistent with the level of free chlorine in mains water.
Government guidance on working safely during Coronavirus COVID-19 for hotels-and-other-guest-accommodation