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Risks is the TUC's weekly newsletter for safety reps and others, sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors.



Hundreds test positive at sandwich supplier

Almost 300 workers have tested positive for coronavirus following an outbreak at a factory in Northampton that makes M&S sandwiches. Greencore said some of its staff are self-isolating after a significant number tested positive for coronavirus. A spokesperson for Northamptonshire county council said 79 people returned positive NHS tests and a further 213 tested positive through Greencore’s private testing. Workers at a factory were there would be no company sick pay if they had to self-isolate, making it difficult for many to comply, their union said. Bosses at the site acknowledged that many staff were entitled to no more than the statutory sick pay rate of £95.85 if they followed instructions to self-isolate. “Statutory sick pay does not support people and, in a crisis like this, you can’t expect people to try to survive on £95 per week,” said Ian Hodson, the national president of the bakers’ union BFAWU, which represents staff at the site. He said the policy of only paying statutory sick pay applied to many people who were on minimum wage and unable to build up any savings that would help them through, while more generous company sick pay terms were available to some of their colleagues. The union leader said two employees were fired after travelling to work together when at least one of them was suffering from Covid-19. He said the policy of paying staff so little while they were self-isolating may have contributed to their decision to flout the guidelines.
Greencore statement. The Guardian and follow-up story. BBC News Online. Sky News. ITV News.

McVities factory cluster linked to school cases

Staff at a Glasgow biscuit factory have claimed a cluster of Covid cases are linked to an outbreak that has affected pupils at a local school. A worker told The National newspaper that the cases at the McVities biscuit factory are linked to the outbreak that has affected 11 people in the north east of the city including pupils at Bannerman High School. The union GMB said it is seeking “urgent clarification” from site managers at the Pladis-owned plant about a possible cluster of cases at the site. The newspaper’s unnamed source said: “There has been a blatant disregard for shop floor health and safety many of whom have been shielding for a period of time.”  The factory produces around 50,000 tonnes of biscuits each year and employs around 600 staff. A GMB spokesperson said the union was seeking ‘urgent clarification’ from the firm regarding the reported outbreak. “Obviously there would be sensitivities to any individuals affected but if this is confirmed, then management have to be open and transparent with the workforce,” they said. A survey by the union found that 90 per cent of staff who responded said they were worried about catching the virus at work. Union representatives said social distancing had been proving difficult due to “workers operating in close proximity on production lines”. Concerns over the safety of workers had been raised by the union in April following reports of a confirmed case of coronavirus in the factory. Last week it was reported that a second outbreak had occurred at the Pladis factory in Leicester making McVities biscuits.
The National. Leicester Mercury.

School Covid cases highlight dangers

Scottish teaching union EIS has repeated its call for enhanced procedures to protect pupils and staff from potential Covid infection. The union said since schools re-opened in Scotland on 11 August, pupils at a number of schools have tested positive for Covid-19, illustrating the risk of the virus spreading through school communities if safeguards are not in place. Last week, after repeated calls from the EIS, the Scottish government announced that testing for Covid-19 infection would be available to all teachers. The union said it believes that further additional measures, such as smaller class sizes and the use of face coverings by older secondary school pupils, are necessary to reduce the risk of Covid spread through schools. EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The cases of Covid infection that have been identified in some young people highlight the critical nature of adequate safeguards to protect pupils and staff from potential Covid infection at school.” He added: “Introducing the option for all teachers to access testing was an important step, but other measures such as reducing class sizes to facilitate physical distancing are required as a matter of urgency. In particular, a recommendation for senior phase pupils, who are young adults, to wear face-coverings where physical distancing is not possible is important if schools are to operate safely.”
EIS news release. BBC News Online. Morning Star.

Nine coronavirus cases linked to Orkney fishing boat

Nine cases of Covid-19 in a cluster linked to an Orkney fishing boat have now been confirmed. NHS Orkney began contact tracing last week after a member of the crew of the unnamed trawler tested positive. Five of the cases were confirmed on 13 August, and the health board then confirmed a sixth case on 14 August. Nine positive cases are now linked to the fishing vessel. NHS Orkney said the three new cases were all crew members from the boat. Not all of the nine cases are crew. A restaurant near Glasgow was forced to close after being associated with a positive test. Meanwhile, staff members identified as close contacts at the Ca Va Brasserie in Giffnock were told to self-isolate for 14 days. Director of public health Louise Wilson said contact tracing in Orkney was now complete and that all those at risk had been spoken to. NHS Grampian and NHS Highland have also been contact tracing as the boat visited Peterhead in Aberdeenshire and Scrabster in the Highlands.
NHS Orkney news release. BBC News Online and related story. The Guardian. The National.

New 2 Sisters chicken plant closed after virus cluster

A Scottish chicken processing plant has been closed after four members of staff tested positive for Covid-19. Two other workers at the 2 Sisters facility in Coupar Angus in Perth and Kinross are awaiting the results of a test for the virus. NHS Tayside said there are two connected cases in the community and arrangements are being made for the testing of other employees. A spokesperson for the poultry factory, which employs about about 1,000 people, commented: “Following the confirmation on August 16 of four positive Covid-19 cases at our site in Coupar Angus, we have decided to temporarily suspend operations and pause production on August 17th, which we believe is the responsible action to take.” An incident management team is working with Scottish government, Public Health Scotland and local environmental health teams to provide advice and support. Deputy first minister John Swinney said: “Where clusters of cases develop we must find them and act quickly to prevent further spread. Public health teams in Tayside are responding quickly to this outbreak and we are liaising closely with them, Food Standards Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council to discuss all appropriate measures to contain this cluster.” NHS Tayside associate director of public health Dr Emma Fletcher said: “An Incident Management Team was convened and, working with the factory, measures were put in place to reduce the risk of further transmission of the virus.” She added: “Further contact tracing within the factory setting is ongoing. Arrangements to provide testing for all factory workers are in process.” In June, over 200 workers at a 2 Sisters processing plant in Anglesey tested positive for the infection (Risks 958). The company is the main supplier of chicken to UK supermarkets.
The Courier. BBC News Online.

More than 70 test positive at dessert factory

More than 70 staff at a Nottinghamshire dessert factory have tested positive for Covid-19. It was announced on 7 August that all staff would be tested after 39 cases were detected, but that figure has risen to 72 after 701 employees at the Bakkavor site in Newark were tested. The 1,600 employees will be tested at an on-site testing station run by the NHS. According to Nottinghamshire county council, 33 of the positive cases have self-isolated and since returned to work “fully fit”. Shona Taylor, business director for desserts at Bakkavor, said: “We understand the importance of the testing and I have been immensely proud of the management team and all the efforts that have been made to ensure we could deliver this for our colleagues. The programme has been positively received, and colleagues have been supportive and reassured that every effort is being taken to ensure their safety.” Jonathan Gribbin, director of public health at Nottinghamshire county council, said: “Bakkavor have been very cooperative and we hope that the testing of their employees will allow us to find out more about where people are acquiring the infection.” Meanwhile 10 members of staff tested positive for the virus at fruit wholesalers Fyffes in Coventry.
The Guardian. Food Manufacture. Evening Standard.

Raise sick pay and extend furlough to tackle virus

Statutory sick pay should be increased and the furlough scheme extended on a flexible basis, a report from the Royal Society has concluded. Doing so would better manage a “crude” trade-off between lives and livelihoods as the UK economy reopens, Professors Sir Tim Besley and Sir Nicholas Stern state. The report warns that an abrupt and premature easing of restrictions would lead to a second wave of infections that would mean both a higher death toll and ultimately a greater hit to the economy. The report, published on 13 August and examining the economic implications of the handling of the outbreak, came a day after data showed the UK suffered the biggest economic hit of the world's richest nations between April and June while also incurring the highest number of excess deaths to date in Europe. It argues that as the furlough scheme - which has supported the wages of 9.6 million workers - is phased out, statutory sick pay of £95.85 a week is a major disincentive for workers to self-isolate. The blanket phasing out of the current furlough scheme across all sectors by October is not sufficiently sensitive to the risks of a second wave of infections, the report argues. Sir Tim Besley, professor of economics at the London School of Economics and co-author of the report, commented: “If people are being asked to self-isolate they need to be cushioned against the economic consequences of that.” Professors Stern and Besley also recommend minimising the rotation of staff between different shifts and the introduction of subsidised workplace testing - particularly in sectors where close contact is hard to avoid.
Royal Society news release and report, Economic Aspects of the COVID-19 Crisis in the UK, The DELVE Initiative,  August 2020. BBC News Online.

Support and resources needed for safe school return

All schools in England must be supported and resourced so they have in place the practical safety measures recommended by the UK government prior to the return of pupils to schools in September, teaching union NASUWT has said. The union’s survey of 9,000 members found the majority of respondents' schools have safety plans in place for September, including on social distancing, minimising contact between groups of pupils, increased cleaning, and hygiene measures. However, it found there is still a significant number of schools that have not so far confirmed to members they have in place effective plans or measures in place. Just over half (53 per cent) of respondents said their school had finalised its arrangements for reopening. However, NASUWT said it was of ‘particular concern’ that three in ten of those who completed the survey said they believe budgetary constraints will affect their schools’ ability to reopen safely. The union said employers should make sure risk assessments have been completed and safety measures are in place so that all staff and pupils can feel safe and confident in returning to work. It added that where members are concerned about their safe return to work they should complete the NASUWT's self-audit checklist which is designed to support them to engage with their employer to ensure that any safety concerns are ‘addressed and resolved’ ahead of the return to the workplace.
NASUWT news release, related release and self-audit checklist.


Work hurts low paid twice as much

The government should make injury prevention a public health priority and take further action to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in workplace, a new report from the IPPR think tank has concluded. Its analysis reveals lower earning workers are twice as likely to be physically injured or become ill at work than higher earners. IPPR also argues that immediate measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 in workplaces should be the first part of a national strategy to prevent physical or psychological harm everywhere people work and live. It calls for this to be led by a new national injury prevention commissioner to ensure a higher profile for the work, and to ensure action across government. Lesley Rankin, IPPR researcher and co-author of the report, said: “Preventing workplace injuries and illnesses is a matter of fairness. It is not right that people who earn less or are from disadvantaged communities are disproportionately hurt or made unwell at work.” She added: “A national strategy covering everywhere people work and live is needed, to coordinate efforts to reduce injury and illness and address the unequal impact on lower earners.” Henry Parkes, IPPR’s senior economist and the report’s co-author, said: “You often hear people talk about ‘health and safety gone mad’ - but what we’ve seen over the last 10 years is health and safety gone bad. Cuts to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities will hamper our ability to carry out vital workplace inspections.” He said: “The HSE is at the forefront of the nation’s efforts to make workplaces Covid secure as the lockdown eases, but it is now operating with far fewer staff than it had in 2008. This crisis has shown us just how important having strong health and safety enforcement and promotion is for our protection and wellbeing in the workplace.”
IPPR publication alert and paper, Better than cure: Injury prevention policy, Lesley Rankin and Henry Parkes, IPPR, August 2020. More on work hazards and low pay.

Three killed as landslip derails train

A 12 August train derailment which left three people dead happened after the train struck a landslip covering the track, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has said. Driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury died when the 06:38 Aberdeen to Glasgow service crashed near Stonehaven at 9:40am. The RAIB said the train had turned back towards Aberdeen after reports of a landslip further down the track. The six-vehicle train had travelled more than a mile when it was derailed after hitting a separate landslip. Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF's organiser in Scotland, paid tribute to the train driver Brett McCullough, and added: “Despite the best efforts of the driver, and crew, and the subsequent efforts of the emergency services who attended, we understand that three people died and several more have been taken to hospital. Our thoughts tonight are with these men and women and their families.” RMT paid tribute to train conductor Donald Dinnie. Senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch added: “The confirmation that there have been three fatalities in the Stonehaven derailment, including the driver and one of our conductor members, is the most dreadful news and this trade union's thoughts are with the families, colleagues and friends of those who have lost their lives in this tragedy.” He said: “RMT will unite to provide support, assistance and solidarity at this distressing time. Safety on the railway has to be an absolute priority and this union will be working with the various agencies to establish the facts behind this disaster which has sent shock waves right throughout our industry.”
RAIB statement. RMT statement and tribute to Donald Dinnie. ASLEF statement and tribute to Brett McCullough. ASLEF/RMT joint family fund. FBU news release. BTP news release. The Courier. The Herald. BBC News Online.

Usdaw petition to protect retail staff from abuse

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw has launched a House of Commons petition calling on the UK government to legislate to protect shopworkers. The move comes in response to what the union described as growing assaults, threats and abuse against shopworkers and a doubling of such incidents during the coronavirus emergency. Launching the petition, Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “The safety of our members is absolutely paramount, but they tell us that some of the shopping public are resisting safety measures in stores and can become abusive when asked to queue, maintain social distancing or reminded to wear a face mask. Our message to the public is there is no excuse for abusing shopworkers, please treat our members with the respect they deserve.” He added: “In light of the unacceptable increase in abuse of shopworkers, there needs to be urgent action to help protect staff. I urge the government not to dismiss my petition, but listen to the voices of shopworkers and legislate for stiffer penalties for those who assault workers. They have talked about zero-tolerance, but that means very little if it is not backed up by strong actions.”
Usdaw news release and petition, Protect Retail Workers from Abuse, Threats and Violence.

Union action call on rising Tube assaults

Tube union RMT has demanded action from London Underground (LUL) bosses over rising levels of violent assaults. The call came after a ‘horrific’ incident at Warren Street Station last week, when a physical attack on workers was continued when the assailant forced his way into the control room. RMT said it has been demanding assurances on the safety and security of staff in control areas. RMT senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch said:  "After this latest assault, and a serious breach of staff safety and security in working areas, LUL and the BTP [British Transport Police] need to get a grip of this issue and provide our members with the safe and secure working environment they rightly deserve. RMT will continue to mount a high profile campaign to press LUL and the BTP over this critical issue.”
RMT news release.

Openreach warned over dangerous hours move

Openreach has been issued a ‘stern warning’ by the union CWU after it moved to impose ‘contractual overtime’. In a communication sent to the union’s regional co-ordinators across the UK, CWU assistant secretary Davie Bowman urged them to ensure full compliance with statutory working hours regulations and safe working procedures, insisting: “We will not allow the business to place any of our members at greater risk through additional attendance.” The controversial step by the company came after a number of Openreach workers had been transferred to other parts of the business, described by Bowman as a “ludicrous” decision. “Our members have supported the company over the last number of months assisting in keeping the country connected and have seen no thanks in return,” he said, adding that “they remain worried regarding the potential impact of Covid on them, their families and the customers they assist.” Regional CWU co-ordinators have been instructed to advise all their members to ensure that “each and every one of them” is stick to their EWTD (European Working Time Directive) total – which must include travel time – and to remind them of their statutory right to refuse to carry out any overtime which would put them in breach of this law. “The CWU will support anyone who does so and will act immediately should any manager seek to coerce or bully someone in those circumstances and any instances of managers stepping over the line will be dealt with immediately,” Bowman said.
CWU news release.

Dangerous understaffing warning on Surrey fire cover

Firefighters in Surrey have warned it is ‘only a matter of time until lives are lost’ after a shortage of firefighters left Surrey Fire and Rescue Service with just one fire engine to cover the entire county, as wildfires tore across the county this month. Their union FBU has called it a “stark warning” that understaffing can put residents and firefighters at risk. Up to six fire engines were unavailable in Surrey at any one time over last weekend because of a lack of firefighter crews. The brigade did not meet its minimum safe fire engine availability threshold on two consecutive days during the ‘major incident’, leaving dangerously low levels of fire cover. The service is required to have a minimum of 20 fire engines available during the day and 16 at night. In periods of high demand, such as during a major incident, a minimum of 25-30 fire engines is required during the day and 23 at night. However, the service had to fight wildfires with as few as 16 fire engines available for the whole county during the daytime and just 13 at night. Graham Whitfield, Surrey firefighter and FBU brigade secretary, said: “Firefighters and residents have been left exposed in recent days, with reckless understaffing posing a serious risk to life. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has failed to provide a safe number of fire engines while crews battle one of the biggest protracted incidents we’ve ever seen.” He added: “We have warned again and again that cuts to our service would put people’s lives in danger, and we are sadly being proven right. Another three fire engines are due to be cut in October, which will leave Surrey firefighters even more short-staffed.”
FBU news release. The Guardian. The Express.

£5k fine after worker brain damaged at boss’s villa

A Scottish worker suffered brain damage after falling 15 feet on to concrete while he was helping to build a luxury villa for his boss. Dalgety Bay-based Brebner & Williamson Ltd pleaded guilty to criminal safety offences that took place during the construction of director Graham Williamson’s new home in Crook of Devon, Kinross, in July 2016. Perth Sheriff Court was told that self-employed contractor John Niven suffered catastrophic injuries when he fell off a hastily-assembled scaffolding platform which had been erected without any risk assessment. The court was told that the company was now on the brink of being wound up and had just over £1,000 left in the bank to pay towards the £5,000 fine. Fiscal depute Gemma Eadie told the court: “Mr Niven was airlifted to Ninewells Hospital. He sustained a fractured rib, elbow, cheekbone and nose, and also a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain. He underwent multiple surgeries over the following year. He has sustained slight brain damage as a result of the accident and has short term memory loss. He was an in-patient for two months and has been left with various scars on his body. He has been unable to continue the lifestyle he had before, including playing golf.” She told the court that Mr Niven was unable to return to full-time work for almost three years after the incident but now carried out landscaping work. “The workmen were not properly trained to work at height,” she added. “They were not risk assessed. No one on site had been allocated responsibility for health and safety.” Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said that because of the company’s financial position, the fine would be partly “symbolic”, but had to be imposed to send a message to the industry.
HSE news release. The Courier.


Help build a database of coronavirus risk assessments

The TUC is collating the risk assessments published by employers as they start to open again after lockdown. The TUC says its aim is to support a safe return by increasing transparency about how safety is being addressed in each sector and to pressure non-compliant employers to conduct the proper risk assessments and publish them online. “You can help by checking out your own employer or others in your sector, and entering them into the database at”, the TUC said.
COVID Secure Check portal.


Get your essential TUC guide to Hazards at Work

The 6th edition of TUC’s best-selling Hazards at Work guide is the best single source on health and safety, union style. The revised new edition is packed with advice on health and safety laws and good practice at work. It covers all the classic hazards and has new Covid-19 related advice and reworked chapters on mental health, bullying, harassment, and all the other modern workplace causes of illness and injury. It also has extensive checklists, case studies and links to online resources.
Reps, unions, employers can order online from the TUC shop. Single copies, £22. For large orders, email the TUC.


Global: Nearly half schools lack basic handwashing facilities

As schools worldwide struggle with reopening, the latest data from UN agencies has revealed that 43 per cent of schools around the world lacked access to basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019. The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) findings reveal a stark failure to meet a key condition for schools to be able to operate safely in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Global school closures since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic have presented an unprecedented challenge to children’s education and wellbeing,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director. “We must prioritise children’s learning. This means making sure that schools are safe to reopen – including with access to hand hygiene, clean drinking water and safe sanitation.” According to the report, around 818 million children lack basic handwashing facilities at their schools, which puts them at increased risk of Covid-19 and other transmittable diseases. More than one third of these children (295 million) are from sub-Saharan Africa. In the least developed countries, 7 out of 10 schools lack basic handwashing facilities and half of schools lack basic sanitation and water services. “Access to water, sanitation and hygiene services is essential for effective infection prevention and control in all settings, including schools,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general. “It must be a major focus of government strategies for the safe reopening and operation of schools during the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic.”
WHO news release.

Ireland: ‘Bogus’ work practices blighting meat plants

The meat processing industry contains “unrivalled vectors for the transmission of Covid-19,” with around 90 per cent of workers in the industry not receiving sick pay, the union Siptu has said. Siptu divisional organiser Greg Ennis revealed the extent of the crisis in evidence last week to the government Oireachtas Covid-19 committee. The Department of Social Protection has said it will investigate claims made by Siptu of bogus self-employment and sub-contracting in the meat sector. The union warned employment practices in Irish meat plants are depriving the state of tax revenue and leaving workers without key pandemic-linked illness and unemployment benefits. Siptu also called for an end to the practice of “hot-bedding,” or the use of the same bed by meat sector workers on alternate shifts. More than 40 migrant meat plant workers are sharing “rooms/accommodation” in one town in Ireland’s Midlands, Greg Ennis told the hearing. He said there are unacceptably high rates of infection of workers, which is running at approximately 10 per cent. Meat plants sometimes get advance notice of inspections by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and inspectors, he told the hearing, a factor that could explain the “high level of compliance” with measures to combat Covid-19 observed by inspectors. The union has called for unannounced inspections and mandatory testing of workers to combat Covid-19.
Irish Times. Irish Independent and related article. RTE news. AgriLand.

Mozambique: Covid-19 has made workers’ health a priority

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of occupational health and safety has returned to the union priority list in Mozambique, IndustriALL has said. The crisis has seen the crucial role of union health and safety reps reemphasised, the global union said. This was a major conclusion of a virtual workshop this month on health and safety under Covid-19, involving leaders and shop stewards from IndustriALL affiliate SINTIME, which organises workers in the mining and base metals sector. The workshop discussed the importance of knowing some of the ways in which multinational mining and commodity companies like BHP organise their businesses, including their “global value chain”. It heard unions must know how low-cost and long-term assets models exploit workers through precarious working conditions involving short contracts, low pay, and dangerous work. Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL mining director said: “Knowing the value chain dynamics allow unions to engage more effectively on health and safety and Covid-19 protocols through sharing of joint strategies and campaigns. For example, the BHP Billiton network brings together workers solidarity from Latin America, Southern Africa, and Australia.”
IndustriALL news report.

Philippines: Alarm after spike in work Covid-19 cases

The Philippines government must identify and immediately address the real causes of widespread Covid-19 infection among workers, a workplace safety advocacy group has said. The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (Iohsad) made the appeal as infection rates among workers spiked. It said “even government officials point to workplaces as the main cause of the increase in Covid-19 infections” in the country. “We are again raising the alarm over the increase in Covid-19 cases among the country’s workers. There is an urgent need for the government to immediately identify and address the causes of the deadly disease’s swift spread in workplaces,” said Nadia De Leon, Iohsad executive director. Iohsad reacted to the Labor Department’s (DOLE) report that 77.24 per cent of the 35,729 establishments that underwent monitoring in June-July 2020 are compliant with the government’s guidelines on Covid-19 prevention and control in the workplace. “This supposedly high compliance rate should not be considered an accomplishment, amidst the spike in the Covid-19 positive cases among workers. The government’s weak guidelines failed to protect workers, a fact which is further highlighted by the issuance of supplemental guidelines,” De Leon said. She said official guidelines “are still not enough to stem the spread of Covid-19 in workplaces.” Improvements should include greater clarity on testing, improvements to contact tracing and income protection for workers self-isolating or quarantined, Iohsad said.
IOHSAD news webpages.

USA: Race inequalities in Covid-19 linked to worse jobs

Higher rates of Covid-19 in Hispanic and other non-white workers are explained by these groups being over-represented in high risk jobs, a US study has found. In the period from 6 March to 5 June 2020, workplace outbreaks occurred in 15 Utah industry sectors, with 58 per cent in just three sectors - manufacturing, wholesale trade, and construction. Despite representing 24 per cent of Utah workers in all affected sectors, Hispanic and non-white workers accounted for 73 per cent of workplace outbreak-associated Covid-19 cases. Overall, 12 per cent of total cases in the state were associated with outbreaks in workplace settings (1,389 of 11,448 cases), a figure that does not include cases in educational and health care settings. A 17 August report in the US government’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) noted: “Systemic social inequities have resulted in the overrepresentation of Hispanic and non-white workers in frontline occupations where exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, might be higher; extra vigilance in these sectors is needed to ensure prevention and mitigation strategies are applied equitably and effectively to workers of racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Health departments can adapt workplace guidance to each industry sector affected by Covid-19 to account for different production processes and working conditions.” The report added: “These disparities might be driven, in part, by longstanding health and social inequities, resulting in the overrepresentation of Hispanic and non-white workers in frontline occupations (ie. essential and direct-service) where risk for SARS-CoV-2 exposure might be higher than that associated with remote or nondirect–service work. In addition, Hispanic and non-white workers have less flexible work schedules and fewer telework options compared with white and non-Hispanic workers. Lack of job flexibility (ie. ability to vary when to start and end work), lack of telework options, and unpaid or punitive sick leave policies might prevent workers from staying home and seeking care when ill, resulting in more workplace exposures, delayed treatment, and more severe Covid-19 outcomes.”
Bui DP, McCaffrey K, Friedrichs M, and others. Racial and Ethnic Disparities Among COVID-19 Cases in Workplace Outbreaks by Industry Sector — Utah, March 6–June 5, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 17 August 2020. DOI: [also in pdf format].


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