All posts by Jawad

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk: Covid Transmission and Killer Workplaces

Covid Transmission and Killer Workplaces

Join the Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk (19th November 2020 6.00-7.30pm on Zoom) featuring speakers including trade union health and safety officers, reps and activists.

We will be discussing how we can end the lockdown using a Zero-Covid strategy and keep people safe at work in Covid-safe workplaces.

Book a place and receive the link to the meeting via  Eventbrite

We will also be launching the film ‘COVID Transmission and Killer Workplaces’.

For further information relevant to the speakers and subject:

Hazards Campaign News Releases

Hazards Campaign and Independent SAGE call for no workers to return to workplaces unless Covid safety plans are in place

The COVID-19 Safe Workplace Charter and briefing document on
ending work lockdowns in GB, Joint Independent Sage and Hazards Charter and document

A Better Way To Go: towards to a Zero COVID UK,   Independent Sage Zero-Covid Strategy

Zero Covid Campaign

Hazards Campaign details
website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963

If you need more information please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk
07734 317 158

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

If you would like to get more involved or make a donation to our organisation please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk: Breast Cancer Awareness is not enough! [Video and resources]

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk: Breast Cancer Awareness is not enough! [Thursday 29 October]

 October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and every year thousands of people don pink outfits and collect money for a variety of breast cancer charities. The session highlighted some of the preventable occupational and environmental risks to women and why they develop breast cancer. We had a line up of fantastic speakers including:

Jane McArthur – Work and Prevention SSHRC, University of Windsor, Canada

Helen Lynn – Alliance for Cancer prevention , Health and Environment Researcher

Jane Stewart – TUC General Council, Unite NEC and Chair Womens Committee, Unite Convener at Unilever Port sunlight

Video

A link to a recording of the event can be found here or viewed below:

A copy of Helen Lynn and Jane McArthur’s presentation can be found here.

Resources

Negotiators’ guide: Women’s health and safety at work, Unite

Cancer prevalence among flight attendants compared to the general population, NCBI

Study Examines Cancer Rates Among Flight Attendants, American Cancer Society

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

Hazards Magazine Cancer resources and tools

Work cancer hazards A continually-updated, annotated bibliography of occupational cancer research produced by Hazards, the Alliance for Cancer Prevention and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Fact sheet on COSHH and Stopping deadly exposure at work

Jane E. McArthur wins the 2019 Barbara Rosenblum
Cancer Dissertation Scholarship

Linking breast cancer and our environment, Helen Lynn

Breast cancer exposure among Windsor-Detroit border workers needs to be taken more seriously, says researcher, 23 June 2020, CBC News

 

A Government void of reality and enforcers avoiding reality!

Hazards Campaign – News Release 2nd November, 2020

A Government void of reality and enforcers avoiding reality!

This week the national Hazards Campaign will endorse a call for action to force the Government to take a Zero-Covid strategy to suppress the virus to save lives and livelihoods (1).  Throughout the pandemic the Hazards Campaign has argued that unsafe workplaces are infecting workers who transmit it on to families and communities driving up the overall infection rates.  The Government and its authorities continue to focus on demonising individuals, ignoring the role of the workplace as a source of infection and transmission and failing to enforce health and safety law that should ensure employers in every setting are controlling the risks.  Government failure to protect workers has also failed to protect communities.

Janet Newsham of the Hazards Campaign will say that “any Covid circuit-breaker must be part of a Zero-Covid strategy which includes high numbers of people tested, a high percentage of those positive cases traced, contacted, and people supported financially to isolate.  Anything less would be an abdication of government responsibility and a waste of valuable time to get the virus under control .  A circuit break must also ensure that all essential workplaces remaining open are Covid-safe (2).

On the 5th November we are going into a second national lockdown that will fail to reduce the transmission rate significantly if it leaves many unsafe workplaces open without adequate enforcement of the controls of risks, and if it doesn’t rebuild  a publicly owned Test, Trace and Isolate  with support system integrated in local public health and the NHS.”

In the North of England many people have been in almost continual restrictions throughout the pandemic and since forced return to unsafe workplaces including schools and universities  the transmission rates have continued to rise.  Unless this lockdown makes significant changes, it will causes much hardship for little benefit.

As we move to a second national lock-down, we should reflect on why we have got here and ensure lessons are learned.

  • Our first lock-down was too little, and came too late and (the second one is also too little, and far too late) (3)
  • Non-essential workplace continued to work during first lock down and unsafe workplaces have continued to work throughout the pandemic (4)
  • Testing was inadequate, not available for many people
  • Tracing was privatised and did not function at a high level of contact tracing
  • People couldn’t afford to isolate without financial assistance and employers of precarious contracted workers threatened workers from isolating or stopped wages and hours
  • Self employed workers were not financially supported (note many construction workers are self-employed)
  • Thousands of jobs have been lost due to Government mishandling, leaving people with huge debts and extreme anxiety
  • The NHS has been starved of resources and staff because of Government policies and Brexit
  • The HSE and LA enforcers. starved of resources and staff over ten years, haven’t been able to inspect or enforce health and safety law (5)
  • The Govt has lost credibility and squandered trust  – mixed messaging, confusing tiers/lockdowns, allowing one rule for us and another more lenient rule for the elite  ‘Cummingsgate’ (6)
  • Schools, colleges, universities opened up for face to face teaching against the advice of scientists and trade unions and transmission rose dramatically  as forewarned (7)
  • Public Health England scapegoated and disbanded in the middle of the current crisis

The Government were advised by their own SAGE  scientific experts to lock-down on 21st September instead they opted for local lockdowns with confusing rules that couldn’t possibly work. (8)

For the circuit break to succeed, it must be on the basis of:

Closure of all non-essential workplaces;

Schools, colleges and universities closed to face to face teaching but supported to provide on-line teaching; support for in-school provision for key workers and vulnerable and deprived children;

Rebuilding a locally based, publicly run,  high contact and efficient test, track and isolate system is in place, with speedy results available for anyone that needs a test, and people supported financially to isolate.  This must be integrated with public health, the NHS and occupational health and safety.

Workplaces remaining open must be Covid-safe and not endanger the workers, their families and communities. Anyone is potentially infectious whether they show symptoms or not so all risks of transmission of the virus by any route must be controlled and enforced in all essential workplaces. This must include transmission by airborne aerosols which requires good ventilation, filtration and mask and PPE wearing. (9)

Workplaces that are closed must prepare to reopen safely as above.

Workers who have to be in work, need access to safe public transport and workers on public transport need their employers to ensure their safety and health and that of their customers.  The same applies to health and social care, retail staff, teachers, transport workers, postal workers and others in essential work.

For a zero-covid strategy to work it has to be done in conjunction with Covid-Safe Workplaces.  PHE and the HSE and local authority enforcers must be resourced to be able to carry out their primary functions.  Outbreaks must be result in on-site testing centres to open up immediately, and occupational health enforcement officers must be on hand to determine transmission routes.

Janet will say “Government advice must improve and change to take account of updated risks on transmission.  It is pointless regurgitating hollow rhetoric about school children and young people needing education to justify unsafe schools remaining open, if it is exposing them to the virus which they take back to their families and communities.  What is going to harm a child more, a few weeks out of education or the death of their parents, siblings or grandparents, that they involuntarily infected?  If education is open it has to be safe and the risks of aerosol transmission must be controlled.”(9)

  1. A Better Way To Go: towards to a Zero COVID UK – 7 July 2020 Independent SAGE
  2. Hazards Campaign and Independent SAGE call for no workers to return to workplaces unless Covid safety plans are in place – 2 September 2020, Hazards Campaign and Independent SAGE
  3. The Hazards Campaign calls for the government to adopt immediately a zero-Covid19 policy– 31 July 2020, Hazards Campaign
  4. No going back to work unless workers say it is safe!– 7 May 2020, Hazards Campaign
  5. Deadly failures have placed millions of workers at unnecessary coronavirus exposure risk – 8 April 2020, Hazards Campaign
  6. The UK Government response is like a car skidding uncontrollably towards a brick wall – 23 September 2020, Hazards Campaign
  7. ‘We’ll be policed all the way to the factory gates’ – 30 September 2020, Hazards Campaign
  8. Summary of the effectiveness and harms of different non-pharmaceutical interventions, SAGE minutes 21 st Sept 2020
  9. Is two metre physical distancing enough? Aerosol transmission and other emerging issues – 14 September 2020, Hazards Campaign

Further Information

Hazards Campaign Twitter: @hazardscampaign
Facebook: We didn’t vote to die at work
email:  info@hazardscampaign.org.uk

For further information contact:
Janet Newsham
janet@gmhazards.org.uk
07734317158

Hazards Campaign Thursday talk: Breast cancer awareness is not enough

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and every year thousands of people don pink outfits and collect money for a variety of breast cancer charities.  But this doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. This session will highlight some of the preventable occupational risks to breast cancer and what we should be doing in our workplaces and trade unions to challenge those risks.

Join the Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk on Thursday 29 October with speakers:

Jane McArthur – Work and Prevention SSHRC, University of Windsor, Canada

Helen Lynn – Alliance for Cancer prevention , Health and Environment Researcher

Jane Stewart – TUC General Council, Unite NEC and Chair Womens Committee, Unite Convener at Unilever Port sunlight

To book a place and receive the link to the meeting please go visit the Eventbrite page

Hazards Campaign

website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963

If you need more information please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk
or 07734 317 158

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

If you would like to get more involved or make a donation to our organisation please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk

Hazards Campaign Thursday talk – The challenges of long-covid

On Thursday 15 October 2020 the Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk concentrated on the challenges of Long-Covid from a health, occupational health, legal and trade union organising perspective.

We were joined by speakers:

– Clare Rayner – ex clinician and member of several Long-Covid support groups
– Professor Raymond Agius who until recently was the  Director of the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Manchester
Phillip Liptrot – Senior personal injury specialist and a national lead for Thompsons solicitors in the North West
– Paul Holleran – GMB Regional education and health and safety officer for North West and Ireland

The event was organised on the basis that workplaces are a major transmission source and that any workplaces open should be certified as safe.  The topic for the event was about the chronic conditions of Covid-19, how it will impact in our workplaces, what employers should be doing to support workers, and what are the implications of defining it as an occupational disease and the legalities involved in ensuring employers support workers properly and how trade unions can tackle the issues.

Please follow the links for  presentations by Clare Rayner and Raymond Agius.

You can view a recording of the event here.

For further information relevant to the speakers and subject:

website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963

If you need more information please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk
or 07734 317 158

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

If you would like to get more involved or make a donation to our organisation please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk

News Release – Grounding our grannies while white-washing workplace infections!

Hazards Campaign – News Release,

14th October 2020 (No embargo)

Grounding Grannies while white-washing workplace infections
The government’s new three tier system risks penalising the general public while leaving crammed schools, colleges and workplaces packed to the gills without the necessary support and oversight to maintain Covid safety, a campaign group has warned.

There is a recurring narrative by politicians and the media, that the transmissions of Covid-19,  is fuelled by misbehaving families and students shirking their responsibilities to our communities.  This ignores the evidence that workplaces are the major sites of infection and transmission, and this includes thousands of schools that have had to isolate children and staff.  Deaths and infections of workers  in working environments where the risks weren’t controlled are being ignored.

We are continually bombarded with images of students partying, families hugging and kissing but when there is an outbreak in a workplace it is said to be the workers fault because they shared cars or they celebrated together.  Individuals are scapegoated rather than the workplaces that are the cause.

The images of young people in bars, in restaurants, in clubs, in gyms weren’t intended to show the absurdity of opening up these venues or the transmission risks of being indoors without adequate ventilation or a lack of public awareness of aerosol risks, but to add to the narrative that out of control young people were spreading the virus.

All these places, including schools, colleges, universities, sandwich bars, fast food outlets, buses, trains are workplaces.  Workplaces with employers who have a legal responsibility to control the risks to their employees and anyone else who comes into their working environment. (1)

If people have contracted the virus on their premises or as part of their work activities then the employer has not carried out their duty of controlling the risks.  The legislation does say ‘as far as reasonably practicable’ which some say is a get out clause for employers, but they still have a legal duty to identify and assess those risks and put in place suitable and sufficient controls to prevent them and then to inform everyone of the controls that are in place and monitor them.

On the 15/10/20 the Hazards Campaign are organising a zoom on ‘the challenges of Long-Covid’. (2)  They will discuss the long-term ill health that is caused by Covid-19.  Janet Newsham Chair of the Hazards Campaign will say ‘everyone focuses on the deaths caused by Covid-19 but the long-term ill health is just as devastating for many people.  And if these infections were caused in workplaces where the risks of infection were not controlled, then employers are negligent in that duty, liable to compensate and support chronically sick workers and subject to reporting and investigation by the health and safety enforcement authorities.’(3)

‘The local authority and HSE enforcement teams have failed to ensure our workplaces are Covid-Safe (4) which means they have also failed to control the risks for workers and the public.  We need Covid-Safe workplaces.  We need Zero-Covid strategy (5) in place and we need ‘no return to workplaces until this happens’  No-one should be in workplaces where the risks aren’t controlled because Workers Health is Public Health and workplace infections will be transmitted back into our communities and other workplaces – spiralling infections out of control, as has happened.

‘Stop grounding our grannies, demonising our children, and white-washing the infections in our workplaces.’

As the mixed messaging from Government increases, we now know that the Government failed to follow their own scientific committee advice that SAGE gave weeks ago about the need for a National Lock-down and even the Labour Party have now joined the call for clearer rules and a Covid-circuit break to get track and trace in place and functioning.  Workers and others have been repeatedly promised rapid testing and tracing. In the last week or so further failings in this system have been graphically revealed and workers and their families remain at high risk because of these failings.

The Hazards Campaign are clear about the steps necessary to halt the exponential spread of the virus. There should be no return to workplaces, no opening up of workplaces, no workplaces operating where the risks aren’t being controlled and this should be certified by our enforcement authorities who have the regulatory powers to inspect and serve enforcement notices on employers who aren’t carrying out their duties. But this will take more resources, (6) and it needs a Government who are determined to stop the transmission of the virus.

1. https://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/blog/well-be-policed-all-the-way-to-the-factory-gates
2. https://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/blog/hazards-campaign-thursday-talk-the-challenges-of-long-covid
3. https://academic.oup.com/occmed/advance-article/doi/10.1093/occmed/kqaa165/5909155   Prof Aigius report Covid-19: statutory means of scrutinizing workers’ deaths and disease
4. http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/blog/new-release-hazards-campaign-and-independent-sage-call-for-no-workers-to-return-to-workplaces-unless-covid-safety-plans-are-in-place
5. https://www.independentsage.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/20200717-A-Better-Way-To-Go.pdf
6. https://www.hazards.org/coronavirus/abdication.htm
Further Information

For further information contact:
Janet Newsham
janet@gmhazards.org.uk
07734317158

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk – The Challenges of Long-Covid

Thursday Zoom Talk – 15th October,  6.00-7.30pm

The Challenges of Long-Covid – How we recognise it, public health and occupational health consequences, legal and workplace challenges.

Join the latest Hazards Campaign Thursday Zoom Talk with speakers including: …..

  • Clare Rayner – retired Clinician and involved with many long-covid groups
  • Professor Raymond Agius – Covid as an Occupational Illness
  • Phil Liptrott – Thompsons Solicitors
  • Paul Holleran –  NW GMB Health and Safety Officer

We have plenty to discuss and lots to campaign about  – especially on what we need to be doing in the workplace to support workers.

To book a place and receive the link to the meeting please go to  Eventbrite

For further information relevant to the speakers and subject:

website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963

If you need more information please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk
or 07734 317 158

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

If you would like to get more involved or make a donation to our organisation please email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk

[Meeting resources and video] Where are the sirens? Can the tsunami of work clusters be stopped?

The Hazards Campaign’s Thursday Zoom talk Where are the sirens? Can the tsunami of work clusters be stopped to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers and our communities, when the Government is still waging a class war? was held on 24 September with a host of excellent speakers and discussion:

  • Professor Stephen Reicher – Independent Sage
  • Shelly Asquith – TUC, National Health and Safety Policy Officer
  • Rob Miguel – Unite National Health and Safety Officer
  • Rebecca Long Bailey Labour Party MP for Salford and Eccles and former Shadow Minister for Education

Please find below a YouTube video of the meeting.

The useful links, comments and other resources that were posted in the live chatbox can be viewed here: PDF.

Best wishes

Janet Newsham, Chair, Hazards Campaign

‘We’ll be policed all the way to the factory gates’

Hazards Campaign news release, 30 September 2020

The Government has introduced new Covid-19 penalties aimed at individuals, which it blames for the increased transmission rates.

The National Hazards Campaign Chair Janet Newsham said “At a time when money should be spent preventing the spread of infections in schools, care homes, hospitals, meat processing plants, offices etc. the Government has chosen to set aside £60m for police and local authorities to enforce the new laws.  However, when workers are inside their factories, offices and other premises, there is little money being spent on enforcing safe control of the transmission risks and ensuring their health, safety and welfare.  Again, it seems like workers health is being regarded as different to public health. ”

At the 29 September 2020 zoom conference ‘Who is regulating the Regulators?’ Janet said that “Workplaces are not being inspected and many reports made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are being dealt with by phone calls to employers and with no physical inspection taking place.”

Employers are also failing in their legal duty to report work-related cases as a new report issued by Pirc found in the food sector (1).  There were just 47 notifications of Covid-19 workplace infections and no deaths were reported when the real number is at least 1,461 infections and 6 deaths in the food manufacturing sector.  But there are other sectors that are also suffering from spiralling infection rates including the health and social care sector, education and other high-risk employment.

A new report (2) by Professor Agius showed ‘many thousands’ of UK work-related cases and hundreds of deaths were being missed by the RIDDOR occupational accident and disease reporting system, backed up by a June warning from Hazards Magazine (3) of an ‘intelligence failure’ at the HSE, with the regulator ‘having little idea what was going on’.

Janet Newsham Hazards Campaign said “The Covid-safe charter that Independent Sage and Hazards Campaign produced (4) weeks ago, to ensure the safety and health of workers in all workplace settings has been ignored.   Rushing people back to unsafe workplaces at a time when transmission rates don’t even match the Governments own measurements for reopening society, never mind not following the science!  Instead they are blaming individuals rather than targeting the real culprits which are employers not controlling the risks.”

Within hours of opening schools, many were sending children back home to isolate.  Children were simply shooed back home and the stop, start education we feared began to happen.  Two weeks later, thousands of children and young people are back at home, staff infected, children infected, family members infected and the spiralling upwards of transmission rates, has hit our communities.  Their risks never controlled in their schools and education environments, which are of course also workplaces. (5)

The Governments demonising of young people at Universities is shameful.  Young people sent to live in shared flats with strangers from different communities (with different transmission rates) across the UK, where social distancing is impossible.  And the subsequent return of workers into non-essential workplaces was always going to be problematic on top of the workers who have continually worked throughout the pandemic.

The Hazards Campaign criticisms of the lack of enforcement and inadequate investigations into the cause of workplace clusters are public record. (6)   Public Health England (PHE), HSE and others have failed to ensure employers are controlling the risks for workers.  Leaving many infected, with long term ill health and some have sadly died. They have failed to investigate transmission risks, failed to enforce health and safety law and failed to hold employers to account for their negligence.  The TUC has recently polled workers (7) and have said that ‘many workplaces are still not taking adequate measures to protect employees from coronavirus’.

And this on the back of the chronic underfunding of the HSE and Local Authority (LA) enforcement bodies over decades, they are now facing the further threat and humiliation of privatisation of part of their roles.  A role that would place enforcement authority with compromised independence, and firmly in the hands of private sector.

Campaign Chair Janet Newsham continued: “If the transmission rates are to be reduced then we need health and safety law enforced and a Covid-19 safe workplace strategy in place, alongside a zero-Covid19 strategy that includes a high functioning and supportive test, track, trace, and isolate. If workplaces aren’t recognised as a source for transmission, then the UK transmission rates will continue to rise.  Policing of Covid-19 prevention, must not stop at the factory gates.”

  1. Unreported deaths – A PIRC sector briefing: Food preparation, September 2020, Alice Martin, Pensions & Investment Research Consultants.
  2. Covid-19: statutory means of scrutinizing workers’ deaths and disease, 21 September 2020, Occupational Medicine, R.M. Agius.
  3. Abdication:  HSE has been missing in action throughout the Covid-19 crisis, Hazards 150, 2020.
  4. The COVID-19 Safe Workplace Charter and briefing document on ending work lockdowns in GB, The Independent SAGE Report 10, 27 August 2020, The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
  5. Studies undermine Williamson’s ‘little evidence’ claim on school risks, 10 August 2020, Hazards Campaign.
  6. We predicted an explosion in workplace Covid-19 outbreaks – two weeks later that’s exactly what we’ve got, 20 August 2020, Hazards Campaign
  7. Many UK workplaces still not ‘Covid-Secure’, 16 September 2020, Risks 965, TUC.

Notes for Editors:
For more information, press only: W
Contact: Janet Newsham
Email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk

Tel: 07734317158 

www.hazardscampaign.org.uk

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

The Hazards Campaign
c/o Greater Manchester Hazards Centre
Windrush Millennium Centre
70 Alexandra Road
Manchester,
M16 7WD
ENGLAND

website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963

The UK Government response is like a car skidding uncontrollably towards a brick wall

Hazards Campaign – News Release,

22nd September 2020 (No embargo)

At this week’s Hazards Campaign Thursday zoom ‘Where are the sirens?’, Janet Newsham chair of the Hazards Campaign will say “‘Applying the brakes?’ This is like the horrific images of the tsunami relentlessly and effortlessly swamping the beach town properties engulfing everything and anyone in their way . Or a car skidding uncontrollably towards the brick wall with the inevitable deadly consequences.  Brakes applied too little too late.  Warning sirens were not pressed before the wave of death swamps the population.” (1)

Early in May the Hazards Campaign said ‘there is no conflict between economic recovery and health because a healthy economic recovery requires healthy workers and people’, but to achieve it then we warned there should be no easing of the lock-down until seven preconditions were met.(2)  These preconditions remain just as valid today.  This Government has learnt no lessons from the deaths, disabilities, and ill health it has failed to control.

Some individuals and workplaces have taken precautions over and above what has been announced by Government.  Whilst others following Government mixed messaging, have carried on their business and put lives at risk without any caution.  It has led to workplace, school and community clusters.  Clusters that have led to the deaths of workers and increased the infection rate in local communities.

Our Government has been the sheep dragged kicking and screaming towards measures that will save some lives, but their sights have been firmly and continue to be firmly on the target of keeping the economy going and the result will be devastating financially for many businesses who will see extended economic disruption as our communities are awash with the virus.

In June, the Hazards Campaign challenged the Government’s easing of conditions that workers would be safe to return to workplaces under.  When the Government reduced the 2m distance to 1m or hardly any physical distancing between workers, we challenged this based on the scientific evidence available.  It was clear that there needed to be a precautionary approach to physical distancing, as aerosols were a far greater transmission risk of spreading the virus, especially inside buildings. (3)  We also called on the Government to adopt a zero Covid-19 policy. (4)

‘Staying Alert! what a nonsense.  Our Government hasn’t been alert to any of the advice until much of it is too late.  They locked down too late, they didn’t lock down all non-essential businesses.  Too preoccupied with the economy they went on to release the lock down again too early, they forced children back to unsafe schools and then workers back to unsafe workplaces.  They have blamed young people and families for spreading the virus, when their messages of go back to the pub, eat out and return to public transport and unsafe workplaces should have been the real focus of concern and stringent action.’

At the beginning of August the Hazards Campaign warned about the risks in schools and that it would drive up Covid-19 cases if the Government ignored the outbreak risks. (5) Then at the end of August we again challenged the Governments failure to acknowledge and act on workplace cluster warnings by forcing children back to school so that parents could return to work and as a consequence workplace cluster outbreaks were increasing. (6)

The Hazards Campaign followed that up with a joint report with the scientist group Independent Sage and called for ‘No workers to return to workplaces unless Covid safety plans are in place’. (7)
All these warnings and predictions about what would happen if they were ignored are unfortunately being proved right.  The Government has chosen to carry on regardless.

As the science has firmly moved from better hygiene to aerosol risks, the Government has been silent, even complicit in their lack of instruction to workplaces to ensure that the transmission of the virus in aerosols is controlled via low occupation, better ventilation and face mask/PPE wearing.  While Independent Sage and Hazards Campaign document of three weeks ago said that workplaces (which include schools, pubs, cafes etc) all workplaces needed to be Covid-safe and certified before opening, the Government ignored such advice.

Throughout the pandemic the Hazards Campaign have argued that a precautionary approach was needed to ensure the control of the transmission of the virus, that the Government had to break the cycle of transmission with full lock down of non-essential business and that they needed to follow a Zero-Covid strategy.

‘We have proof now that we need that Zero-Covid strategy,  we need Covid-safe workplaces and we need a fresh Government with their eyes wide open to proper defence of the population and away from a knee jerked, back of the fag packet after a pint down the local pub analysis and inaction.’

Notes to editors: