The comments made by Andy McDonald, the Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary, on 14 February 2021.
The decision against classifying Covid as a ‘serious’ workplace risk has prevented enforcement action to keep workers and the public safe, contributing to the UK having the highest death rate in the world and the worst economic crisis of any major economy.
It is staggering that inspectors have been denied the powers to close workplaces and prosecute employers. That the Health and Safety Executive has failed to close a single business for putting employees at risk of Covid despite more than 3,500 outbreaks at work, shows how workplace protections have been neglected through the pandemic.
Inspectors ought to have the powers to keep workers’ safe and protect the public. Covid must be classified as a serious workplace risk.