EAST Lancashire business owners should check the safety of their work environment before thinking about reintroducing staff, according to a local expert.

Chris Walker, from Chorley-based ATG Health and Safety, has been advising clients on key checks and modifications that they should be making in the workplace before staff return to work.

To advise businesses in the region, he has laid out five steps they should check before reopening, from complying with public health advice and carrying out essential checks and tests through to advising staff on commuting in to work.

Mr Walker, head of ATG, part of the Napthens Group, which has offices in Blackburn, said: “Firstly, all businesses need to be able to comply with the government’s public health advice as it changes.

"This could include spreading out desks in an office, rearranging them to face away from each other, or staggering arrival and departure times to stop a queue of people coming in and out of the workplace at the same time.

"However, people should be wary of whether these could create unintended safety issues and react accordingly.

“Buildings that have remained idle for six weeks may have developed safety issues. Flushing out the water system to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, carrying out fire alarm checks, inspecting potential leaks or property damage should be part of the first checks.

“For some workplaces, some regular inspections may have been missed. Essential checks such as gas safety should be certified."