LRD Booklets February 2021

Working safely with COVID-19 - a guide for workplace reps

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Introduction

Introduction [pages 3-5] (1,325 words)

This booklet aims to be a practical guide for workplace reps on keeping workplaces safe through the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
Open access

Chapter 1

1. What is COVID-19 and how is it transmitted in workplaces? [ch 1: page 6] (361 words)

The coronavirus crisis has been caused by a novel, never-before-seen strain of coronavirus, first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) ...
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COVID-19 symptoms [ch 1: pages 6-7] (180 words)

What are the risks to health? [ch 1: page 7] (116 words)

How is the virus transmitted? [ch 1: pages 7-8] (335 words)

Who is most at risk? [ch 1: page 8] (39 words)

Clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely
vulnerable groups — including pregnant workers [ch 1: pages 8-9] (515 words)

Other groups of workers at particular risk [ch 1: page 9] (171 words)

BAME workers [ch 1: pages 9-10] (419 words)

Older workers [ch 1: page 10] (34 words)

Disabled workers [ch 1: pages 10-11] (137 words)

Chapter 2

2. The UK government’s response to the pandemic and why it is failing [ch 2: page 12] (203 words)

At the beginning of 2021, the UK had the highest COVID death rate in the world. By 20 January 2021, COVID had killed more than 100,000 people in the ...
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PPE failures [ch 2: page 12] (160 words)

Test and Trace failures [ch 2: pages 12-13] (184 words)

Union demands for the government to meet key tests for safe work [ch 2: page 13] (156 words)

The Zero Covid Campaign [ch 2: pages 13-14] (352 words)

Chapter 3

3. COVID-19 risk assessments [ch 3: page 15] (120 words)

In January 2021, with new strains of coronavirus “spreading like wildfire”, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady called on employers to ...
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What does the law say? [ch 3: page 15] (284 words)

What is a suitable and sufficient COVID-19 risk assessment? [ch 3: page 16] (254 words)

Roving health and safety reps [ch 3: page 16] (177 words)

Dynamic risk assessment [ch 3: page 17] (185 words)

Risk assessments for workers at particular risk of severe illness from COVID [ch 3: page 17-18] (309 words)

BAME workers [ch 3: page 18] (186 words)

Older workers [ch 3: page 18] (113 words)

Disabled workers [ch 3: pages 18-19] (283 words)

Pregnant workers [ch 3: page 19] (184 words)

Sharing and publishing risk assessments [ch 3: pages 19-20] (174 words)

Examples of good practice [ch 3: pages 20-21] (622 words)

Chapter 4

4. How can reps make workplaces safe? [ch 4: page 22] (299 words)

With new variants of COVID emerging across the country at the beginning of 2021, unions have called on employers to review and improve safety ...
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BEIS ‘COVID-secure’ guidance [ch 4: pages 22-24] (608 words)

Health and Safety Executive guidance [ch 4: page 24] (120 words)

Hierarchy of prevention and control measures [ch 4: pages 24-25] (215 words)

Chapter 5

5. Eliminating the risk and substitution [ch 5: page 26] (264 words)

As the UNISON public services union points out, the simplest way of preventing transmission of COVID-19 is to completely eliminate any work-related ...
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Ensuring sick and self-isolating workers do not come to work [ch 5: pages 26-27] (235 words)

NHS Test and Trace [ch 5: page 27] (194 words)

Test, Trace and Isolate — workplace guidance [ch 5: page 27] (125 words)

Mass testing [ch 5: pages 27-29] (613 words)

Unions demand more financial support to allow workers to self-isolate [ch 5: pages 29-30] (648 words)

Substitution [ch 5: page 31] (225 words)

Chapter 6

6. Engineering controls (71 words)

These include barriers and partitions to separate employees from each other and the public, including screens around supermarket checkouts and other ...
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Ventilation [ch 6: pages 32-35] (1,379 words)

Union victory on London buses [ch 6: page 35] (181 words)

Chapter 7

7. Administrative controls [ch 7: page 36] (44 words)

Administrative controls can include: social distancing and floor markings, and signs to encourage this; cough and sneeze etiquette; cleaning, ...
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Social distancing [ch 7: pages 36-37] (583 words)

Social distancing in work vehicles [ch 7: pages 37-38] (409 words)

Social distancing and travel to and from work [ch 7: pages 38-39] (349 words)

Other administrative controls [ch 7: page 39] (168 words)

Chapter 8

8. Personal Protective Equipment [ch 8: pages 40-41] (610 words)

There has been a huge government failure to provide frontline workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the pandemic (see ...
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Victory for gig economy workers [ch 8: page 41] (188 words)

Chapter 9

9. Face coverings [ch 9: pages 42-43] (720 words)

The TUC’s guidance, Face coverings in the workplace (https://www.tuc.org.uk/resource/face-coverings-workplace), explains why face coverings are ...
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Chapter 10

10. Protecting workers at particular risk [ch 10: page 44] (399 words)

LRD’s Payline database of collective agreements includes several examples of measures to keep safe those at particular risk of severe illness from ...
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Chapter 11

11. Supporting workers with Long COVID [ch 11: pages 45-46] (684 words)

It has become clear that many people infected with COVID who survive are still ill for weeks, and in some cases months, later. In October 2020, ...
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Chapter 12

12. Union representation and consultation [ch 12: pages 47-48] (439 words)

A number of union reps told LRD that regular consultation with management is vital, as is regular communication within and between unions. ...
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Chapter 13

13. Industrial action [ch 13: pages 49-50] (513 words)

Although there are many examples of where unions have worked constructively with employers to keep workplaces safe from COVID, in other cases workers ...
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Chapter 14

14. Using section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 [ch 14: pages 51-52] (677 words)

A number of union branches have shown that section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 can be an effective tool when workers act together. ...
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Chapter 15

15. Health and safety law enforcement and COVID [ch 15: pages 53-54] (572 words)

In April 2020, UK safety watchdog the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) set out its enforcement approach to COVID-19 in a joint statement with the ...
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Local authorities [ch 15: page 54] (165 words)

Police [ch 15: pages 54-55] (104 words)

How to report COVID safety concerns [ch 15: page 55] (136 words)

Representing employees and receiving information from inspectors [ch 15: page 55] (205 words)

Reporting COVID cases under RIDDOR [ch 15: pages 55-57] (804 words)

Appendices

Appendix 1 [pages 58-59] (574 words)

The TUC and unions have provided guidance explaining what a “suitable and sufficient” COVID-19 risk assessment is and what it should cover. ...
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Appendix 2 [pages 60-62] (615 words)

The GMB general union has developed a checklist of issues to be addressed in a risk assessment to prevent COVID-19 transmissions: ...
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Appendix 3 [page 63] (217 words)

Ventilation is an important factor in mitigating against the risk of aerosol transmission of coronavirus (see Chapter 6). ...
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Further information

Further information [page 64] (174 words)

The TUC’s COVID-19 coronavirus — guidance to unions and other information is at: ...
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