COVID-19. Notification for Members
Dear HSLA Members,
On behalf of the Committee, we hope you and your loved ones are all well and safe, and remain so.
It seems ironic that when the Committee met for its Annual Strategy Day on 6 February, we were discussing whether firms might impose any travel restrictions on their staff travelling, with Coronavirus starting to become a story. I don’t think any of us foresaw how quickly this would become a worldwide issue and that we would be in lockdown ourselves by mid-March. We hope that you are all managing to cope with the new norm, for however long it lasts.
At the meeting on the 6 February, the Committee signed up to an ambitious events schedule, exploring expanding our training offering, looking at new thought leadership initiatives etc. as well as the annual Summer lecture and drinks in July at the Liberal Club and the AGM/Annual Conference in November.
Unfortunately, some of this will inevitably need to be put on hold and we will of course monitor the position for the July and November events. We have, however, met this week, remotely of course, and we are actively looking at continuing to hold our events remotely by Zoom/WebEx/Microsoft Teams. We will send more details shortly but it is our intention to run the following digitally if possible:
- Guide to the law and practice of inquests arising from deaths in healthcare.
- Sentencing in Fire Safety Offences.
- Food Safety Allergens/Food Labelling. Again, we intend to run this event electronically on a date to be confirmed.
- How the courts approach the Sentencing Council’s Guideline on harm in H & S cases (this event was run in February in Middle Temple. It was very popular. Efforts were made to repeat it in Scotland but will be re-run digitally)
In terms of thought leadership, the Committee was sharing stories of some of the COVID-19 issues arising for our clients. For example, an issue relating to statutory inspections (e.g. under PSSR, LOLER and PUWER). Some of our clients are reporting that restrictions on movement are making it impossible to get independent authorised inspectors out (compounded by the grounding of the inspectors by their employers) which means that, particularly if restrictions do continue, more and more businesses will find that existing certification is expiring putting them in breach of strict terms of the regulations. This is turn impacts on insurance cover which requires current certification to be in place.
Or on construction sites, the question of what PPE should be provided to the designated first aiders in the event that CPR should be needed due to an accident on site. CPR has been proven to create large amounts of infectious aerosols from someone with COVID-19. Someone giving CPR in a hospital setting would be required to wear a full fit face mask, googles etc. so why should first aiders on a site be any different?
This is an unprecedented health emergency for the our country and worldwide and we intend to launch a designated COVID-19 LinkedIn page for our membership to record and share issues of the type above. Again, we will be sending out details of this as soon as we can.
Our collective desire in the Committee is to keep the Association running through these events, and thank you to all those on the Committee who continue to work hard for us to do so.
Most importantly though, we do all hope everyone is well and safe, and remains so. We’ll be in touch further about the events above and others.