Although the government is urging people to return to their workplace, a poll by the TUC has found that less than half of the respondents felt that their place of work was currently safe enough.
The survey also revealed that:
- Only two-fifths (38 per cent) of workers said they knew their employers had carried out COVID-secure risk assessments and shared it with staff, despite a legal requirement to do so.
- Just four in 10 (42 per cent) reported being given adequate PPE.
People on low incomes (less than £15,000 per year) and in insecure work have been worst affected by companies cutting corners on workers’ safety, with one in four (27 per cent) reporting that no action had been taken by their employer to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
38 per cent of those on insecure contracts said no measures had been taken to prevent transmission at work.
The TUC poll also found that three-quarters of workers had at least one concern about returning to work outside the home. For instance, more than a third (34 per cent) said they were concerned about not being able to socially distance from colleagues, while a similar number (32 per cent) said they were worried about exposing others in their household to greater risk as a result of returning to work.
Almost a quarter (24 per cent) said they were concerned about not being able to socially distance from clients or customers, while nearly a third (30 per cent) said they were worried their workplace would not be cleaned properly.
Although three-quarters of workers told the TUC they had concerns about returning to work, only a third (32 per cent) had spoken to their employer about it, while 29 per cent said they did not feel comfortable speaking to anyone. Two-fifths (40 per cent) said they had voiced concerns to friends and family.
These findings come as the Health and Safety Executive is currently appointing private outsourcing companies to carry out workplace “spot checks”. These checks will not be done by trained, expert or warranted inspectors. Instead, they will only be able to do a basic inspection and check for a risk assessment.
The HSE has chosen this approach as the additional government funding provided for workplace safety is for one year only – meaning they cannot use it to resource much needed increases in inspection and enforcement capacity. Typically, training an HSE inspector takes at least two years.
To read the survey results in full, go to: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/many-uk-workplaces-still-not-covid-secure-tuc-poll-reveals