A recent study found that no company has been reprimanded for breaching Covid-19 safety laws, despite 2,945 complaints to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) between 6 – 14 January, for this reason. Partner Charlie Thompson spoke with HR Magazine about employee’s rights in this situation.
The article states:
“Companies have reportedly exploited looser lockdown rules during the third national lockdown, bringing non-essential workers into sometimes busy workplaces.
The Observer study found that no enforcement notices have been served to companies by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors for COVID-19 safety breaches since the UK went into the latest lockdown.
However, HSE has been contacted 2,945 times about workplace safety issues between 6 and 14 January.
Overall, just 0.1% of the nearly 97,000 COVID-19 safety cases dealt with by HSE during the pandemic resulted in an improvement of workplace safety. But no company was prosecuted for COVID-related breaches of safety laws.
A survey carried out by the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) also found that one in nine workers said they had been ordered back to their workplace when they could have worked from home.”
Charlie commented that employees should feel able to speak out against unsafe working procedures.
He said: “If an employee feels they are being unreasonably pressurised to return to an unsafe working environment – especially if you are able to work from home – they may wish to raise a concern with their employer.”
The article continues:
“Thompson said that it is unlawful for employers to dismiss a worker or subject them to a detriment if they have raised a qualifying concern.”
Charlie also added: “When the legislation was drafted in the 90s and amended in the 2010s, a global pandemic might not have been at the front of anyone’s mind but use of this protection by employees will almost certainly increase, especially when restrictions are lifted further, and employers seek a return to ‘normal’.”
Click here to read the original piece in HR Magazine.
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