COVID-19 Advice to Businesses

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COVID-19 has increased health and safety responsibilities and legal obligations for business operators.  Now more than ever is the time to safeguard your business by taking all reasonable steps to prevent exposure to the invisible threat of virus and its devastating consequences/impact. 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 and its subsequent amendments specify essential businesses which may remain open and non-essential businesses which must be closed.  This is enforced by PSNI and Council.  Regulations are reviewed every 3 weeks and updated to reflect which businesses may be open and which activities are permitted.  We all must await announcements from the Northern Ireland Executive to determine when and what type of businesses may reopen. 

The Northern Ireland Executive has published its 5 Stage Plan Coronavirus Executive Approach To Decision-Making for easing the COVID-19 lockdown and progression will depend on key health criteria being met. 

Further information on Coronavirus: Business closures and restrictions is available on NI Business info website together with latest business advice, support and guidance.

As this situation is evolving rapidly, it is essential for employers and employees to keep themselves informed of the work related risks posed by COVID-19. 

Current Public Health advice is available from

A practical guide to making workplaces safer entitled ‘COVID-19: Working Through This Together’ gives a useful overview of the principles and steps for employers and employees to keep themselves and their workplaces safe.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance on Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak on its website including a short guide and talking with your workers.

Government guidance on ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)’ has been published in consultation with industry to ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.  You may need to refer to more than one guide to fit your business model.

Health and Safety legislation still applies but your documentation should be reviewed and updated accordingly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health and Safety Policy

Employers must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their workers and anyone else affected by their business (including members of the public and contractors).  This includes the risk from COVID-19. Employees must adhere to their employer’s controls - to protect themselves and others.  For further information on Health and Safety policies and a completed example visit the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) website at

Risk Assessments
Risk Assessments must be suitable and sufficient to address health and safety hazards including the risk from COVID-19.  For further information on Risk Assessments, templates and completed examples visit  A template risk assessment for COVID-19 is available at
Welfare Facilities
Workplaces must have adequate sanitary and washing facilities and a sufficient number of wash hand basins.  The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice provides further information
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Where PPE is identified by your risk assessment as an additional control, it must be suitable and appropriate.  The latest government advice is available from the Coronavirus (COVID-19: personal protective equipment (PPE) hub and from HSENI
Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences (RIDDOR)
Employers must now report cases of COVID-19 within the workforce where there is reasonable evidence that someone diagnosed with COVID-19 was likely to have been exposed due to their work activities.   Further information on RIDDOR reporting is available at
Statutory Inspections (Lifting Equipment, Pressure Systems, Gas etc
Further information is available from the HSENI website at
HSENI has produced specific guidance for Managing legionella during COVID-19 lockdown



Public Health Agency A4 Social distancing poster
Department of Health A4 Wash Your Hands poster


Industry Guidance

Business sectors have produced guidance:
Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union Protocol for the Reintroduction of Golf in Northern Ireland
Horticultural Trades Association includes risk assessment and safe trading guidance retail protocols
Further sources of information:
The Labour Relations Agency has published guidance for businesses and workers on their rights and responsibilities for protecting staff and themselves from the spread of the virus


Contact us

The Health and Safety team is available to deal with any queries you have by contacting us on
Tel: 028 2766 0257 or



Advice for Businesses                     

If you have opened a new business, please complete the online registration at
If you have changed your business operation as a result of COVID-19, please contact the Food team.
Further information is available from the food section of our website
The following links contain useful guidance to help you to ensure you meet high standards of food hygiene and ensure that the food you produce is safe to eat.
​​Guidance for Consumers

Guidance for consumers on coronavirus (COVID-19) and food

Safe Shopping Guide

Contact us:

The Food team is available to deal with any queries you have by contacting us
Tel: 028 2766 0257 or