Is this the end of the “Covid Secure” workplace?
Monday 19th July saw the end of all legal restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic in England. Soon the other nations of the UK will relax restrictions too.
Alongside the rhetoric of ‘freedom day’, it also means employers in England are no longer legally required to take “Covid secure” measures to protect staff from the virus, despite skyrocketing infection rates (reaching over 50,000 a day as we write this).
Many employers will try to be understanding of people’s worries about Covid. They’ll allow staff to remain flexible, and act in ways that allow them to stay safer.
But a vast number won’t and, over the coming weeks, workers will start to experience more and more pressure to “return to normal" - potentially compromising their own health.
We all know why this has happened. Boris Johnson has gone too far, too fast on ending restrictions - and many employers will choose to follow his headlong charge into the unknown. Though this day has been coming for a while, the Government only published new guidance for workplaces last Wednesday, leaving no time for employers to consult staff.
Since the pandemic began, we’ve heard hundreds of stories of employers ignoring the law and risking people’s health. Thousands of workers, particularly those in lower-paid and front line work, have lost their lives as a result.
We mourn them.
Without continued legal protections to keep workplaces ‘covid secure’, unions are working quickly, engaging directly with employers about what needs to be done to keep people safe amid tens of thousands of daily infections.
Remember - your employer is legally required to consult workers on health and safety risks at work. As always, if you’re a union member, please contact your rep and discuss your concerns so they can help find a solution. If you’re not a union member, we strongly recommend you pick one to join.
Due to the change in the law, this project - cataloguing workplace covid risk assessments and gathering stories from people working through the pandemic - is coming to an end.
The best place (as it always is) for updated news and information about covid-related workplace safety is your union rep, and your union. For information about Government policy and the TUC’s response, keep an eye on our blog and follow us on Twitter.
We want to thank everyone who took part in Covid Secure Check - the risk assessments shared and stories you told to us were an important part of our conversations with the Government.
By way of wrapping up the project, we will:
- Delete the Covid Secure email list and related records in the next 30 days
- Leave this website available for archival purposes
- Archive the anonymous stories that were shared with us.
With our sincere thanks for taking part and offering solidarity for the future,
The Covid Secure Check Team and the TUC