Council gives health and safety advice and support to businesses
6th June 2020
The Highland Council is responsible for the ‘policing' the new The Health Protection (Coronavirus)(Scotland) Regulations and coronavirus restrictions such as physical distancing and enhanced hand hygiene controls in a range of business premises including shops, hotels, offices and leisure industry.
The new law was made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incident and spread of coronavirus in Scotland and came into force at the end of March 2020.
Officers from our Environmental Health and Trading Standards teams have responded to more than 280 COVID 19 enquiries received from businesses, employees, and the public and have been providing advice on how they can comply with the new coronavirus Regulations and meet with Scottish Government Guidance.
At the end of May, the Scottish Government published its route map to lifting Scotland out of the crisis. Contained in this document is a plan for a phased approach to changing current restrictions which will enable more businesses to resume operations.
In readiness to re-open, all businesses should start to look at their workplace operations and create a plan to implement safe work practices to protect the health, safety and welfare of their staff and the public who may use their services. It is acknowledged that in the lifting of restriction this may present some new challenges to businesses, but it is important to ensure that all workplaces remain safe.
Alan Yates, Environmental Health Manager said "We continue to engage with local businesses during this challenging period, offering advice on the regulations and providing guidance on how they can provide safe work environments to control the risks of disease transmission. In the Highlands, we have seen a high level of compliance and willingness by business to meet with Scottish Government guidance.
"Our team of officers continue to respond to enquiries and investigate complaints of unsafe work practices, and where appropriate, will look to use their enforcement powers under the coronavirus or health and safety legislation to ensure compliance to protect public health.
"I would encourage all businesses to familiarise themselves with the Scottish Governments recently published route map and relevant business sector guidance which can be found at https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/ but would stress that that the publication of these documents does not alter the current lockdown requirements at this time in that business premises must remain closed unless they are deemed essential to the COVID 19 response and permitted to operate. If any business is unsure of their position or requires advice they can contact our Service for further advice on telephone 01349 886603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org ."
Scottish Government routemap out of the crisis
Sector Guidance for Easing Lockdown
COVID-19 Business & Social Distancing Guidance
HSE Coronavirus News
The Highland Council is updating parents and carers of its position on early learning and childcare (ELC). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Scottish Government removed the statutory requirement for Local Authorities to deliver 1140 hours of ELC from August.
Following on from the recent publication of Highland Council's Supporting Economic Recovery in Highland - A Guide for Businesses - the Council is announcing relaxation of some controls that will assist tourist accommodation providers have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In recognition of this where there are specific planning and licensing controls in relation to occupancy, for example: a restriction on the occupancy of any caravan for a continuous 12 month period; or where conditions restrict occupancy for specific periods of time, ...these will be relaxed by the Council up to and including April 2021.
The Caithness Committee met virtual today for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and it's agenda focused on the actions taken by the Council and the third sector to deal with the effects of Coronavirus in Caithness. The Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Paul Senior, gave members an update on the plans and preparations underway to prepare for the return of pupils and staff to Caithness schools in August.
Margaret Davidson, the Leader of the Highland Council has given her strong support to the efforts of the Scottish Government to obtain greater fiscal flexibility from the UK Government. The Scottish Government have sought flexibility to offset capital underspend against resource expenditure, more flexibility over resource borrowing and greater flexibility over the use of the reserve for capital.
The Highland Council is planning to re-open play areas across the region throughout summer. Advice was provided by the Scottish Government on 28 June as to the safety measures that should be applied.
The Highland Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland recognised to develop a Schools Digital Learning Hub, which provides a resource for staff, parents and pupils to support home learning. Prior to Covid-19, we had an estate of 27,000 Chromebooks that were already a part of our ICT in Learning Strategy.
Earlier today (Wednesday 1 July 2020) members of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee had the opportunity to discuss (by video conference) progress made with the Corran Ferry Project which is reviewing the options for securing a replacement ferry and considering the way forward for the future operation and management of the service. The Corran ferry service has reached a critical point and strategic decisions need to be made.
As Scotland prepares for the easing of lockdown and the re-opening of the tourism and hospitality sector, The Highland Council's Environmental Health are advising holiday accommodation providers to make sure their private water supplies are safe to drink. A large number of self-catering and tourist accommodation in the Highlands are served by private water supplies and with these being closed during the lockdown period, the water supply system may not have been maintained and could create a risk to the quality and safety of the drinking water.
Lesley, who previously worked for Hackney Local Authority in London, expressed how much she has enjoyed working for the Council. Lelsey started with highland council on 13 August 2019.
Following Scottish Government guidance on returning to construction sites across Scotland, works will be restarting on the EES:ABS scheme across the Highlands. In line with the guidance, contractors will be undertaking phased restarts and adhering to social distancing to allow workers to return to construction sites gradually while using measures such as hand hygiene.