How seriously are you taking COVID security in your workplace?
The Trades Union Congress’ (TUC) survey of more than 2,100 workplace safety representatives, found that many employers are failing to follow covid-secure rules:
- More than three-quarters of safety representatives (83%) said employees had tested positive for COVID-19 in their workplace
- 57% said that their workplace had seen a “significant” number of cases.
This concern can be seen first-hand, it was reported yesterday that hundreds of staff at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) began a four-day strike, in a dispute over Covid-related safety. It follows an outbreak at the site which has, since September 2020, seen 560 employees at the 6,000-staff offices contract the disease with one employee dying from the disease having contracted it whilst at work. At the time, staff said they felt scared to go to work and that there were unhygienic conditions and a lack of social distancing at the offices.
Employees claim those with symptoms were encouraged to return to work, vulnerable staff had work from home requests turned down and Test and Trace mobile detection has been circumvented.
You may recall our reporting of a previous situation at the DVLA in our blog of 18th February which covered the fact that the DVLA management were asking employees to disclose their waist size as part of a ‘points based’ risk assessment’ to decide which employees were healthy enough to return to work.
Well the situation has only worsened since then with the Commercial Services union (PCS) at the site in Swansea, South Wales, walking out until this coming Friday 9th April after talks have failed to resolve the row.
The DVLA insisted that workplace safety was a priority:
Seemingly some progress had been made in talks, such as the agreement to remove more than 300 desks, the revision of the risk assessments which has led to a further 300 staff being sent home, and a commitment on how to proceed in talks over the coming months, however the lack of immediate moves to reduce numbers on site means the industrial action will go ahead.
If any employee is found to have contracted Covid whilst at work it is the responsibility of the employer to take all reasonable measures possible to follow the Government Regulations and Statutory Guidance in order to operate safely. It is imperative that ALL businesses make the correct provisions to ensure the safety of their staff. Failure to comply with the relevant public health legislation could result in enforcement action by the relevant authorities.
If you need support or reassurance that you are complying with all Government guidance regarding this we can help.