Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Health and Safety Executive will be joining forces to carry out covid spot checks on local businesses.

The collaboration will be used to make sure firms in the borough are Covid-secure and to help tackle coronavirus in the local area.

During the checks, businesses will be given advice and guidance of how to manage risk and protect staff, customers and visitors.

If businesses are not managing this the council will take immediate enforcement action.

Enforcement action can include from specific advice, enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.

HSE and Blackburn with Darwen’s Public Protection team are finding some common issues across a range of businesses that include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime particularly at busy times of the day.

Councillor Phil Riley, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: "We are talking to local businesses and inspecting sites in and around Blackburn with Darwen to understand how they are managing risks in line with their businesses.

"Becoming COVID-secure needs to be the absolute top priority for all businesses in the borough. It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their staff and customers and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus.

"All businesses are in scope for spot checks which means businesses of any size, in any sector can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are COVID-secure. By making sure that they have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support the local economy.

"We strongly advise employers to work with their staff when bringing in changes, to help increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community and keep everyone as safe as possible.”

For further information on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors please read the government guidance.