Worries Over Workers Forced to Attend Non-Secure Workplaces
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that there are growing fears over the fact that employees are being asked to work on premises that aren’t Covid-compliant. This comes as they revealed that they received close to 3,000 complaints on safety matters in early January.
The Full Details
The HSE has confirmed that they were notified of 2,945 complaints about safety issues at work during the period from 6 to 14 January. They also stated that they have ramped up their effort to check the safety of workplaces and to support companies.
Since the beginning of the current lockdown, no businesses appear to have been prosecuted for breaching the coronavirus safety measures that they need to stick to. Yet, the HSE has confirmed that their latest number of warnings and enforcement details will be confirmed next week.
An HSE spokesperson said that their inspectors are still hard at work, “putting employers on the spot” as they carry out checks to see if companies are continuing to stick to the health and safety laws that are in place just now.
They also pointed out that they have brought in new telephone spot-checks as a way of quickly finding out whether businesses are doing all that they can to keep employees safe during the crisis.
The HSE has made a total of over 32,000 site visits since the pandemic began. Of course, the current government advice is for anyone who can work from home to do so. People should only travel to work if they are unable to carry out their role remotely.
What Has the Reaction Been Like?
Reaction to the latest updates came from Frances O’Grady, who is the general secretary of the TUC. She said that the first part of any enhanced enforcement should be with those employers that are putting staff at risk by breaking the safety rules in place for Covid.
O’Grady also said that more resources should be given to the HSE, as they look to track down and stop “rogue employers” who ignore the latest advice. She said that every business needs to understand that an inspection of their premises could occur at any time.
It should be remembered that all of the workplaces that have stayed open in England need to have a Covid-19 risk assessment carried out on them. This will help the bosses to create a strategy that allows them to stop the spread of the virus there.
The current guidelines in England include keeping the number of visits to the premises as low as possible, maintaining two metres of social distancing when possible and cleaning workspaces on a regular basis. Construction sites are among the sectors where existing measures, such as safety ladders and safety clothing, needs still to be used.
A government spokesperson stated that they have worked together with the likes of “trade unions, businesses and medical experts” to come up with the latest guidance on keeping workplaces Covid-secure, allowing those businesses that can’t work remotely to carry on safely.