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Third of staff fear catching Covid-19 at work

More than one third of workers have an active concern about catching novel coronavirus (Covid-19) while at their workplace, according to a new study by think tank the Resolution Foundation.

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The Resolution Foundation identified major concerns among workers

The survey, which analysed the responses of over 6,000 people across the UK, says worries about contracting Covid-19 at work remain despite the majority of employers have implemented new safety measures.

Low paid works are less likely to raise such concerns with their employer, while 47% of respondents say the would not know who approach externally if they raised a health and safety concern with management but it was not resolved.

The Resolution Foundation also found the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was slow to send inspectors out to workplaces to ensure they were safe at the start of the pandemic, though activities have now been ramped up.

This was put down primarily to significant budget cuts during the last decade, which have constrained the number of investigations both the HSE and local authorities can conduct.

More weight should be placed on the employee voice as a source of intelligence to inform enforcement targeting

As such, the Resolution Foundation has made a number of recommendations to help ease the concerns of workers and allow them to work in a safe environment.

“More weight should be placed on the employee voice as a source of intelligence to inform enforcement targeting,” the think tank says.

“The health and safety system should take a more precautionary approach to minimise the risk of virus transmission in the workplace, especially in sectors where high numbers of low-paid or non-unionised workers are found.

“Additional government funding for both the HSE and local authorities should be ring-fenced for health and safety enforcement not just for the duration of the pandemic, but beyond.”

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