HSE Covid-19 welfare inspection programme in transport and logistics - IOC round table

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HSE Kanwal Kanda, head of transport sector briefs IOC round table on the inspection programme and how feedback is aimed to deliver best practice.

Big turnout for Wed at One IOC fellows' Zoom round table as sector puts forward its Covid champions and Covid police.

Fellows can view the Zoom recording of the round table here. Please contact IOC for the passcode.

HSE top brass, Harvey Wild joined Inst of Couriers on an express courier sector Zoom round table to explain the launch of HSE COVID transport & logistics welfare inspections, ‘feedback from the inspections should generate and dissemination future best practice for the sector.’ Inspections will start at head office locations, review strategy and then inspections regionally are set to check that strategy is being delivered across the sector.

Kanwal Kanda, Head of Transport Sector for HSE,

We are concentrating on measures that make a difference, cleaning of surfaces, limiting workers in closed spaces. Regular touch points in the vehicle should all be dealt with. Drivers who attend another workplace must have access to facilities for personal hygiene, toilets and hand washing. In vehicles with more than one person we need to see risk assessments.


IOC chair Carl Lomas set the scene with exploding final mile numbers breaking all records in a peak unplanned for. Lomas drew focus to the IOC evolving code of values for best practice delivery during COVID at version 1.7. HSE are set to keynote the inspection findings at the IOC heads of industry round table Feb 2nd.

IOC CEO Tracey Worth introduced the COVID champions of our sector. A top brass turn out from operators in a full alphabet of the express sector from Absolutely & Addison Lee to Whistl & Yodel. CitySprint to DPD, Hermes to Tuffnells. A group of sector Covid Champions, Covid police within our delivery teams.

HSE keynotes were focused, operator questions detailed, a positive platform to work together sector and HSE for best practice.

Fellows can view the Zoom recording of the round table here. Please contact IOC for the passcode.

Harvey Wild, Head of Transport and Public Services Unit at HSE.

Transport & logistics is a key sector for the UK. COVID has highlighted how key express courier, final mile, last mile sector is, especially to the doorstep. The amount of work has gone up and you have a lot of drivers out there. It's important the sector is COVID-secure and keeps going, both in and out of lockdown; Covid security & Covid safety is paramount to us all. HSE should be seen as an enabler, helping us deal with a secure workplace in logistics. Risk assessment is at the heart of solutions. The inspections are set to bring feedback sector-wide in the New Year. We want you to exchange best practice, learn from each other and deliver with pride.


HSE Kanwal Kanda, Head of transport sector for HSE

These are extraordinary times that impact on all of us, personally and in business. These inspections are looking at Covid risk and provision of welfare facilities in the workplace. Warehouse storage of goods falls predominantly to local authorities for enforcement against health and safety law, while large distribution centres and sorting activity falls to HSE. Only HSE cover worker and driver activity away from fixed premises' locations.

Collectively we need to be assured that our goods can be transported safely and risks to workers effectively managed – our experience over recent months however, is that while many employers are working safely in Covid times, not all risks are being controlled effectively or consistently across mail, parcel and courier sector. As part of the inspection programme we are looking to provide advice and guidance, but we are regulators and will take the necessary action to improve standards where appropriate. We acknowledge that this quarter is usually a busy time for this sector, but with increased online retailing this year we know there’s an increased demand on the supply chain. It remains important, therefore, to protect all workers, temporary or full time, which is why the inspections will focus on COVID management and the provision of suitable welfare for drivers (toilets and handwashing)

 Covid precautions are not a reason to restrict access to welfare facilities for visiting drivers. We have had reports of drivers who have been refused access to facilities because of COVID.

For the inspection approach we have a mixture of visits; head office for strategic approach, then site visits regionally to see the strategy & management policies that are being applied and embedded. This is not just a regulatory exercise to check compliance with the law, we fully intend to feed back findings to the sector and the timescale for that is as soon as the New Year. While risk assessment remains a key step to identify risk and control measures, we also expect a robust management approach to COVID risk control. It’s important in all of this that we recognise that there may be an element of community transmission going on where case clusters are seen in the workplace – if robust workplace controls are in place then that will mitigate the effect of community outbreaks for the business.

Optimal protections should apply to all workers and not be reserved for certain workers groups. But we recognise that workers in higher risk groups may be concerned about their own health, which is why support is essential PLUS individual conversations with managers to discuss particular concerns. To cope with demand in the sector, we know there has been an influx of temporary workers into the workplace, but as mentioned, a blend of controls will continue to be the most effective way of managing Covid risks and the effect of outbreaks in the community.

For a risk control approach we expect the hierarchy of control to be applied. This means elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls through to use of personal protective equipment (PPE). In terms of risk assessment, it is important that organisations cover the three routes of virus transmission which are: through the air, from person to person, and surface to surface. This approach will help identify where the risks are and the associated required measures. It is for businesses to determine which parts of their sites present risks of virus transmission – as an example, that may be: driver waiting rooms, smoking areas, security check points, canteens or rest areas, sorting and packaging areas, loading bays and offices. Away from the workplace, don’t forget the risks in shared vehicles.

To effectively manage COVID, organisations cannot continue as they have traditionally done. Opportunities to carry out tasks in a novel or different way should be considered, such as: electronic signature collection, staggering worker start and finish times, physical distancing by time as well as distance, cohorting teams, implementation of one-way systems, use of screens and ventilation as engineering controls, increasing space between workers on sorting lines, workers not facing each other, and using work / office space in a different way etc.

We plan to feed back early in the New Year from the inspections for transport and logistics to promote good practice and learning.