News bulletin for immediate release – 28 January 2022 No embargo
Delegates at the Friday 28 January meeting of the Hazards Campaign demand action, from the Government to enforce existing occupational safety law and prosecute employers that break the law, and to reverse their abandonment of occupational public health mitigation.
The latest statistics from Government show a huge number of workplace outbreaks. (1)
The Covid crisis in the UK has been led by a government that not only admits to breaking Covid law, but also abdicates all responsibility for controlling transmission of this deadly virus.
Janet Newsham of Hazards Campaign said: “The Hazards Campaign continues to support workers and trade union reps in untangling the confused, unscientific, unsafe and unlawful government guidance, apparently produced to force workers and others into unsafe and unhealthy workplaces, without adequate risk assessments and appropriate control measures. “
Newsham continued: “One example of this flawed approach can be found in the Department of Education operational guidance that tells employers to ignore Risk Assessments that call for remote working and allows the removal of face coverings/masks. This flies in the face of all reason and seriously jeopardises safety.” (2)
Enforcement through the pandemic has been woeful. There has been a complete absence of Covid-19 prosecutions by the HSE/Local Authority inspectors. Lots of employers have failed to prevent infections and the result has been the deaths and long-term ill health of workers. RIDDOR reports have been submitted in far too few cases of Covid-19 deaths, infections and for those workers who continue to suffer debilitating ill health, and no prosecutions have been made on the lack of RIDDOR reports either.
Therefore the Hazards Campaign calls for:
1. Full and proper enforcement of health and safety law as the paramount protective law at work.
2. The prosecution of employers putting workers lives at risk.
3. A reversal of the abdication of the Governments Covid-19 mitigation policy and the return of Plan B.
4. The development of an agreed plan with trade unions to provide safe workplaces for all workers through collective scientifically proven layered preventions.
No-one should be harmed or made ill simply going to work, especially when the mitigations to prevent infections are known.
Workers should not have to fight for their health, lives and livelihoods in a global viral pandemic when there are laws intended to protect them at work.
Notes to Editors
(1) Weekly national Influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report Week 3 report (up to week 2 data) 20 January 2022 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1048531/Weekly_Flu_and_COVID-19_report_w3.pdf
(1) Higher education COVID-19 operational guidance
Other relevant information:
- Return to work controlling the risks: https://gmhazards.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Covid-19-Controlling-risks-in-the-workplace.pdf
- Ventilation information – https://www.hazards.org/infections/venting.htm
- Hazards Campaign event – What next for workers after Plan B? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5srlOq1o4e4
- Hazards Campaign recordings: https://www.facebook.com/Hazards-Campaign-online-recordings-and-podcasts-225138836151169
For More Information
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