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Union Health and Safety Rep Survey - 2020/21

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
Key findings

The TUC’s 2020/21 survey of more than 2100 workplace safety representatives reveals that many employers are failing to follow Covid-secure rules and keep workers safe. 

Survey findings on Covid-19 and health and safety at work 

  • Risk assessments: More than a quarter of safety representatives said they were not aware of a formal risk assessment being carried out in their workplace in the last two years, covering the period of the pandemic. One in ten (9%) said their employer had not carried out a risk assessment, while 17% said they did not know whether a risk assessment had taken place. Of those who said their employers had carried out a risk assessment, more than a fifth (23%) said they felt the risk assessments were inadequate.  

  • Workplace outbreaks: More than three quarters of safety representatives (83%) said employees had tested positive for Covid-19 in their workplace, while more than half (57%) said their workplaces had seen a “significant” number of cases.  

  • Enforcement by the Health and Safety Executive: Less than one quarter (24%) of respondents said their workplace had been contacted by a Health and Safety Executive inspector, or other relevant safety inspectorate in the last 12 months. More than a fifth (22%) said their workplace had never been visited by an HSE inspector, as far as they were aware. 

  • Social distancing: A quarter (25%) of representatives said their employer did not always implement physical distancing between colleagues through social distancing or physical barriers. Just over a fifth (22%) said their employer did not always implement appropriate physical distancing between employees and customers, clients or patients. 

  • Personal protective equipment: More than a third (35%) said adequate PPE was not always provided.  

  • Mental health concerns and stress: Almost two thirds of safety representatives (65%) said they are dealing with an increased number of mental health concerns since the pandemic began. Three quarters (76%) cited stress as a workplace hazard. 

Download full report (pdf)

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