The Workers Union has demanded new levels of investment in health and safety to prevent injuries in the workplace.
The announcement came as the Health and Safety Executive published its annual summary statistics. The report contains stats from the Labour Force Survey, which reveal that 1.6 million people were suffering from a work-related illness in the 2019/20 period.
There were also 111 fatal injuries and a total of 38.8 million working days lost thanks to a combination of injury at work and work-related illness.
The figures will make grim reading for a government that’s already struggling to deal with the impact of Coronavirus on the British economy. Ministers’ moods will not have been improved by the conclusions drawn in Baroness Doreen Lawrence’s investigation of the impact of COVID. The review says that the government should make employers report infections at work. It also argues that publishing COVID-secure plans on a central portal should be a legal requirement.
The Workers Union Says
This news from the Health and Safety Executive is entirely in line with what we were expecting. We deal with many cases of workplace injury and stress-related illness. The common factor that binds many of them together is inadequate health and safety measures. In recent weeks he have seen an uptick in people coming to us for help with cases that involve patchy provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and poor to non-existent attempts to make workplaces COVID secure.
Lest we forget, no sector of the economy is immune from this. We have doctors and nurses, factory workers and delivery drivers amongst our membership. Many of them report bad practice, injuries, mental stress and burnout as common to their professions. Only last week, a leading figure in the provision of mental health services to doctors said that weekly admissions had doubled since the pandemic began.
If the experts who are trained to make our health a priority are suffering, then many of people will legitimately ask what chance the rest of us have.
The Workers Union has been campaigning for higher standards right the way through this pandemic. As early as March we argued that the government should legislate to improve health and safety at work. We’re pleased to see that other organisations are catching up with us, but that doesn’t detract from our dismay at the status quo.
So we’re demanding more investment in inspections and complete visibility of COVID secure planning. We’re demanding business gets its house in order and invests in the right equipment for people to do their jobs safely and without injury. And we’re demanding that mental health services at work become much more widely available.
The world has changed and UK plc must change with it. Working people will no longer tolerate being the victims of shoddy practice. We need our businesses and the institutions of government to wake up to this and use it to form the basis of a new social contract with the people.
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union