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Workers' health being forgotten as back to work drive ignores Covid risk, warns Hazards

WORKERS’ health and safety is being forgotten in the drive to force them back to work as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, campaigners have warned.

Hazards Campaign, the UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners for justice and safety at work, highlighted statistics that show a “huge number of workplace outbreaks” of Covid-19 infections as restrictions are relaxed.

The group warned at its annual conference that no action is being taken against employers who put their workers at risk.

Campaign co-ordinator and chairwoman Janet Newsham said the government “not only admits to breaking Covid law, but also abdicates all responsibility for controlling transmission of this deadly virus.”

She said: “Enforcement through the pandemic has been woeful. There has been a complete absence of Covid-19 prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive and local authority inspectors.

“Lots of employers have failed to prevent infections and the result has been the deaths and long-term ill health of workers.”

The campaign is demanding enforcement of health and safety law at work, prosecution of employers putting workers’ lives at risk, the return of restrictions and union involvement in drawing up plans to protect workers in the workplace based on scientific evidence.

“No-one should be harmed or made ill simply by going to work, especially when the mitigations to prevent infections are known,” Ms Newsham said.

“Workers should not have to fight for their health, lives and livelihoods in a global viral pandemic when there are laws intended to protect them at work.”

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