Low-Earning Workers Most at Risk of Injuries

Low-Earning Workers Most at Risk of Injuries

15th September 2020

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank has released research showing that lower-paid employees are more at risk of injuries. This comes as businesses all over the UK continue to look for ways to safely return to work.

Details of the Report

The report from the IPPR is called ‘Better than cure: Injury prevention policy’. In it, they show that workers in the lowest wage brackets are twice as likely to get injured or become ill when they are at work, when compared to higher earning colleagues.

They went on to point out that protecting all staff on their return to their workplaces should be seen as a “matter of fairness”. Naturally, workers who use heavy equipment or work at height are most at risk, although the correct use of safety gear such as a step unit and appropriate clothing should lower the risk.

The details of their survey showed that those who are in the top 10% in terms of hourly earnings suffered an illness and accident rate that sits at only 2.1%. However, when we look at those who earn in the bottom 10% category, this number rises to 4.9%.

The IPPR reminded us that the UK has been a world leader in this subject and called for the government to help companies to make their workplaces more secure for employees. They also suggested increasing the amount of statutory sick pay and expanding it to cover those people who are isolating.

Another suggestion in the report was to improve the government’s whistle-blower policies, to make it easier for employees to raise their concerns over workplace safety. They also recommended that the publishing of the Covid risk assessment should be mandatory for all companies with more than 50 workers.

Report co-author Henry Parkes pointed out that cuts made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and to local authorities are making it more difficult to accurately assess safety issues. The HSE budget has been cut by 53% since 2010, and their number of staff has decreased by 33% in this time.

Some of the Expected Changes in Working Routines

A separate report has looked at the different ways that businesses may be forced to operate from now on due to coronavirus fears. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraging people to get back to work, the study suggests some ways of making this return safer for everyone.

For example, they suggest that image recognition technology be used to spot anyone with symptoms before they enter. Another possibility is to carry out team meetings outdoors, with a suggestion being that meetings could be held in local beer gardens or parks. This helps to avoid the dangers of meeting rooms where social distancing measures may be difficult to implement.

Staggered lunch breaks and an end to sharing cutlery and kitchen equipment are among the other ideas suggested here. The traditional tea round could also be at risk, as companies look for ways to make their premises as hygienic as possible.

The use of automatic doors and powerful UV light disinfectants are also suggested as being ways of helping to keep the risks as low as possible for all workers.