Recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed that 48 per cent of all whistleblower reports made since March 2020 have been in relation to the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures.
The data shows that out of 5,585 reports to the HSE, almost half were about social distancing concerns in the workplace, while one-quarter of all reports made in relation to COVID-19 safety measures were made in October and November 2020. The poll found that just 45% of workplaces had safety protocols in place, such as social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing, despite the majority of respondents (51%) citing these measures as fundamental to making them feel safe at work.
8% of the cases related to concerns over a lack of available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers.
Experts have stated that a lack of PPE provision for workers who might be exposed to individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus could be a breach of a duty of care to employees, dependent on the type of workplace and the specific Government guidance in place.
Cases that have been filed with HSE can then lead to investigations, which can result in corrective action being taken against employers that are not following the requisite health and safety standards, particularly in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
The HSE has signalled its intention to carry out spot checks on employers to ensure that businesses that require workers to carry out work in a physical centralised location are following the COVID-secure procedures to ensure the safety of their employees.
Employers should continue to ensure that the correct COVID-secure procedures are being adhered to in line with Government advice for the sector they operate in and address concerns from employees wherever possible.