Do you Feel Safe in the Workplace
4 October 2021 by Rhian Lowe
2020 and 2021 have been turbulent years for the majority of people. The impact of COVID has had a devastating effect on families as well as on the economy.
The hospitality industry now finds itself struggling to fill vacancies as a result of oversees employees not returning to start their seasonal jobs. In addition, with a number of people having to isolate, many industries are working at reduced capacity and there is a question mark over whether establishments can trade well with such a reduced workforce and do so safely.
Staff shortages are not just limited to the hospitality industry. We are all too aware of the shortage of HGV drivers and the direct implication that this has had on everyone. However, what we may not have considered is that a consequence of this has been that many HGV drivers are now driving for too many hours and are over the safe limit. This puts increased pressure on the remaining available workforce but also poses a threat to the safety of members of the public.
The transport industry, agricultural trades and the NHS are just some of the sectors that have been greatly affected over the last few months. Hospital staff have gone on record to state that their own patient safety is now a concern due to a lack of nursing staff and we have seen shortages of staff across the country as a result of their colleagues being “pinged” to stay at home or isolate as a result of coming into contact with someone with Coronavirus symptoms.
Previously, reputable employers would have appropriate risk assessments in place and would be able to adopt safe systems of work with staff health and safety being one of their top concerns. Unfortunately, due to a number of businesses struggling financially and wishing to make up for the months of lost income, there is a question mark over whether employee safety standards can realistically be satisfied during this crisis.
The Health & Safety Executive has recently produced some shocking statistics with regards to accidents in the workplace:
- In the year 2020 to 2021 – 142 workers were killed;
- From 2019 through to 2020 – 65,427 injuries were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR);
- During 2019 to 2020 – 38.8 million working days were lost due to work related illness and workplace injury;
- A labour force survey revealed that almost 700,000 people sustained an employment related injury in the period ending 2019 to 2020.
These figures are exceptionally high and it is very likely that during these unprecedented times more risks are being taken in the workplace and this is likely to result in an increase in accidents.
It is important to point out that as an employee you are also responsible for your own safety, so, if you are required to do something during the course of your employment that feels unsafe, then we suggest that you follow your employer’s policies and report a health and safety concern.
Reporting things in this way could prevent an accident from happening in the first place but it would also assist in any legal proceedings that may follow should an incident occur.
If you have had an accident in the workplace and are wondering if you have the right to make a claim then please contact Rhian Lowe on 01206 835269 or email [email protected]
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