A recent survey has shown severe failing by employers to protect their employees from the risks of catching Covid-19 in the workplace.
The Trade Union Congress (“TUC”) commissioned a survey of 2,100 workplace safety representatives which resulted in some surprising conclusions:
– More than 25% of safety representatives were not aware of risk assessments being carried out in their workplace during the last two years
– Of those who confirmed that a risk assessment had been completed, 23% believed that it was not adequate
– 83% of those surveyed confirmed that employees in their workplace had tested positive for Covid-19 with 57% stating that there had been a significant number of cases
– Less than 24% confirmed that their workplace had been contacted by the Health and Safety Executive in the last 12 months
– 25% of businesses are not implementing social distancing between employees
– More than 35% stated that the correct PPE had not been provided
Many employers are failing to follow simple Covid-19 guidelines and are at risk of enforcement action being taken against them.
What do you need to do?
Employers have a legal obligation to carry out workplace risk assessments and this has become even more prevalent during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is vital that employers take note as to the relevant workplace guidelines for their sector and ensure that they are strictly adhered to. Whilst the UK is slowly coming out of lockdown and restrictions are easing, it is still important that employers play their part in protecting their workforce.
What rights do employees have?
If an employer does not create a Covid secure workplace and follow the sector specific workplace guidance, then they could be breaching health and safety laws.
If this is the case, employees may have the right to refuse to attend work, especially if they have already raised concerns and these have not been adequately dealt with. Whilst it is a slightly more drastic action, an employee may also have the right to resign from their role and bring a claim for constructive dismissal, should the workplace not be Covid secure.
If you are an employer who would like advice regarding implementing the correct workplace guidelines, or are an employee with health and safety concerns, please get in touch with a member of the team on 01752 663295.