Deadly failures have placed millions of workers at unnecessary coronavirus exposure risk
[Hazards Cmapaign, News release, 7 April 2020]
A fatal combination of missed opportunities, ignored warning signs and a failure to stop non-essential work have made the Covid-19 a bigger and more deadly epidemic in the UK, a new analysis prepared for the Hazards Campaign by top public health academic Professor Andrew Watterson of Stirling University has revealed. The government’s serial failures are summarised in an infographic prepared by Hazards Magazine.
Calling for an end to non-essential work, Hazards Campaign spokesperson Janet Newsham said:
“For all our sake, stop this madness.”
“For all our sake, stop this madness. We have workers side-by-side building luxury hotels when almost every hotel in the land is shutdown and in crisis, and building power stations that won’t go on line for years. How can these jobs have been considered ‘essential’?”
She added: “To control the spread of this virus we need a Government to make rational decisions and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to enforce safety or stop the work.
“We are weeks into the pandemic and frontline staff are dying from a negligent Government who are failing to provide basic PPE”
“We are weeks into the pandemic and frontline staff are dying from a negligent Government who are failing to provide basic PPE never mind a standard of PPE that would keep all health and care workers and all essential workers safe.
“We need a precautionary approach to this new risk and one that provides workers with the best chance of avoiding being infected by it. It needs to be a robust approach using the best possible research and international evidence available.
“Continually over the last few weeks, Government officials, have said that testing is coming. And weeks before, international experts declared that the only way to win the battle against the virus spread was to test and track. Only this will save the lives of both the front-line workers and the rest of society. We have to attack the spread of the virus and test, track and quarantine, is the only way proven way to achieve this. There shouldn’t need to be a debate about who is going to receive treatment or not, we should have in place a health care system alongside a strategy that protects our most vulnerable.
“The Hazards Campaign calls on the HSE to step up and enforce the legal duty on employers to ensure workers health and safety.”
“The Hazards Campaign calls on the HSE to step up and enforce the legal duty on employers to ensure workers health and safety. All workers including vulnerable zero hours, the bogus self- employed need reassurance and access to information and support in the workplace. This means they need a health and safety enforcer to listen to their concerns, raise their issues and challenge negligent employers. We need them to close down employers who are putting people’s lives at risk.
“Everyone needs to stand together in the fight to protect workers”
“Everyone needs to stand together in the fight to protect workers, not simply because it’s the right thing to do but because it affects us all. Workers health is public health. When companies subject workers to dangerous conditions and cheat them out of wages, it’s taxpayers who foot the bill. The worst offenders will only change their behaviour when the cost of failing to protect workers outweighs the benefits. If we truly want to show our essential workers how much we appreciate their contributions, we need to do more than just applaud them. We must have the courage to stand and support them, using every resource we have. It will be for the good of public health too.
“We echo the statement put out by the STUC condemning the UKs Government approach on social distancing and welcoming the new Scottish Government guidance. All risks in the workplace must be controlled and the very least employers should do to protect all workers is to provide the highest level of PPE available in these circumstances. (http://www.stuc.org.uk/media-centre/news/1432/scottish-government-guidance-on-social-distancing).
“We support the Statement by the Society of Occupational Medicine! (https://www.som.org.uk/work-related-fatalities-due-covid-19-exposure-not-given) that the UK should have aimed for a target of zero work-related fatalities in this pandemic within the NHS, essential services and UK business. Finally, there has been a failure by the HSE to enforce Health and Safety Law and ensure workers are protected from all the risks in the workplace. This must change!”
A Hazards Campaign meeting yesterday agreed the following statement .
Chair of Hazards Campaign
Tel: 07734 317 158