Shocking findings show that just under a quarter of employers in Wales have carried out a Covid risk assessment in consultation with staff, new research by the Wales TUC reveals.
Welsh Government guidance clearly states that employers “must carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other Health and Safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with the recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers.”
The latest findings show that fewer than one in four bosses are complying with the guidance in full. It raises concerns that employers are not doing enough to protect their staff, and that more needs to be done to compel them to comply with guidance and regulations.
Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said: “These findings are shocking and deeply worrying. It is now clear that the majority of employers in Wales don’t appear to be complying with even the basic steps of managing the Covid risk in the workplace, with those in lower-paid jobs less likely to be protected. This adds to the ongoing concerns we’ve had for particular groups of workers who cannot do their jobs from home, like those working in distribution centres and food processing.”
The trade union body is also calling for Welsh Government guidance to be reviewed and strengthened in response to high virus rates and the new, more contagious strain.
Shavanah Taj said: “The new strain means we have to consider where action needs to go further – this means clear rules about ventilation in the workplace, where face coverings should be worn, the quality of PPE, and the number of people permitted to be in a particular space and for how long. It also means we need a far stronger message to employers that they have a duty to facilitate home working, as no one should still be going out to work if it’s possible to work from home.”
“And crucially, employers must adopt this new advice. Regulation will be the quickest way to ensure this and protect the largest number of workers. Welsh Government led the way on protecting workers with the two metre law, and now they need to do so again by regulating for other minimum standards to protect workers from Covid.”
Wales TUC is calling for the following measures to become mandatory in workplaces in to help stop the spread of coronavirus:
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Wales TUC commissioned YouGov to conduct polling work in late 2020. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,030 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26 November and 3 December 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Wales (aged 16+).
The figures quoted above are in response to a question that was not asked to those who are working entirely from home, or who are not working, so the sample size was 655 adults.