Workplace Report April 2021

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

Think tank slams ‘light touch’ approach

New research for the IER Institute of Employment Rights think tank says the UK government’s “light-touch” approach is dangerously downplaying the significant risk of Covid-19 transmission in workplaces.

A team of health and safety and labour law specialists carried out a review of the data on workplace transmission, and the government and HSE response for the report, HSE and Covid at work: a case of regulatory failure.

This says the role of work in transmitting the disease was recognised from the outset of the pandemic, and workplace infections account for a significant proportion of all Covid cases. However, the IER analysis found “strong evidence that risk was not sufficiently mitigated in workplaces because Covid-19 rules were not adequately enforced”.

The report highlights the lack of legal standing for “Covid-secure” guidance. The measures employers were asked to take “were not backed by the force of law”.