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

HSE; short guide to working safely during the Covid-19 pandemic (PDF 600KB / 8 pages).

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:

Equipment checks

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.

HSE: Guidance for duty holders and inspectors (PDF 228KB / 10 PAGES).

Water systems and Legionella

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:

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

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