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Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister

First published:
15 January 2021
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 will be amended early next week to help make sure people are safer when they go shopping and to strengthen protections in the workplace.

Ministers this week met with essential retailers to discuss their vital role during the pandemic. They set out the actions they are taking from providing sanitisers for cleaning hands and trolleys on entry, to limiting the numbers in store at any one time, to making regular announcements reminding people to keep their distance from others.

We will strengthen regulations to ensure retailers take these steps so that their premises are as safe as possible for shoppers and their employees alike. Many are already operating to these high standards and we need to raise the bar for those who could and should improve.

To further ensure all businesses and premises are taking effective action to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we are confirming in our regulations that coronavirus risk assessments must be carried out. These risk assessments will be the starting point for implementing the reasonable measures that are required to be taken to minimise exposure to the coronavirus on premises open to the public and in workplaces. The taking of reasonable measures are already required by our regulations.

A coronavirus risk assessment will involve considering issues such as whether ventilation is adequate, hygiene, ensuring physical distancing is taking place; and use of PPE and face coverings. This assessment should involve consultation with staff and their representatives. It will also include considering how employers maximise the number of people who can work from home.

This will complement existing occupational health and safety laws and make mandatory elements of current risk assessments responding to coronavirus. 

Risk assessments must be reviewed and updated regularly, whenever circumstances change and I want to make clear in law this includes whenever the Covid Alert levels change in Wales. 

Recording the risk assessment will only be required by those who employ five or more people.  We are working closely with employers, trade unions, Local Authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to consider the detail on how to keep work settings safe.

We want everyone to follow the rules and help save lives.