The TUC is calling on UK government and employers to prioritise good ventilation in order to prevent a ‘rebound’ of Covid-19 infections as restrictions ease.
The union voiced its concern following the reopening of hospitality and non-essential shops in England on 12 April. The TUC says that, according to findings in its report Safe Return to Work, 14 per cent of employers had not carried out a risk assessment for their workplaces.
The study was of 303 employers, carried out by Greenwich university to research Covid safety from November 2020 to February 2021. TUC’s earlier research has also found that only 49 per cent of workers said their employer had enabled social distancing in their workplace during the latest lockdown.
As society and workplaces re-open, the TUC says all employers must update their risk assessments to follow the guidance on the importance of ventilation. This means that any activity which can be conducted outside should be, and that employers should invest in ventilation systems, as well as continuing to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
The union is also urging employers to give their staff paid time off to get vaccinated and has renewed call for government to take a harder stance with companies who flout health and safety rules.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We all want this lockdown to be the last. But if we get workplace safety wrong, the virus could rebound.
“Ministers must send out a strong message to employers: act now on workplace safety. Before reopening, every employer must run a new risk assessment, prioritising good ventilation – and act to make sure their workplace is Covid-Secure.”
She added: “More people are getting vaccinated every day – but that does not mean that employers can skimp on safety measures at work.”
A safe return to the workplace, TUC report here
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