FOLLOWING PM Boris Johnson’s unprecedented announcement yesterday (Monday 23 March) that all non-essential businesses should close, many in the waste industry were left wondering whether this applied to them.
CIWM, the professional membership body for the waste sector, have released an update clarifying that waste management companies are indeed not currently expected to close.
The statement opens:
The Government has issued advice and a list of the non-essential businesses that have been ordered to close as of 23rd March. The list can be found here. Waste management companies are not included on the list and businesses not on the list are currently allowed to remain open.
However, waste management companies of any size or type who continue operating during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic must take all necessary measures to protect the workforce and the public and minimise the risk of spread of infection through observing the control measures introduced by the Government. The new measures introduced on 23 March are aimed at restricting day-to-day contact with other people to reduce the spread of the infection and full details are available here. The measures are:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purpose
- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
For the waste sector, unless otherwise directed in the coming days, this means that workers can travel to and from work, but only where work absolutely cannot be done from home. Whilst outside the home, workers should stay 2 metres apart from work colleagues and every effort should be made to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace. Key workers in critical sectors, of which waste disposal is one, can continue to send children to school if it is absolutely necessary.
In addition, it is essential that the highest levels of health and safety are observed, including providing adequate and hygienic washing facilities, updated risk assessments, deployment and use of appropriate PPE, and the suspension of activities that require suitably qualified and technically competent persons should these persons not be available.
This statement will be updated as the situation progresses.
Read the statement in full HERE.