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“Reckless” Government putting workers at risk asserts British Safety Council CEO

18 May 2020

THE BRITISH Safety Council has demanded that no worker be forced back to their workplace until it has been made safe. This follows on from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's address to the national last Sunday evening wherein the Government indicated that more people should be going to work.

In his speech, the Prime Minister stated: “You should go to work if you cannot work from home and, to ensure you are safe at work, we have been working to establish new guidance for employers to make workplaces COVID-19 secure.”

The British Safety Council is providing support to employers with workers on the front line, among them staff in the fire safety and security sectors. As well as providing direct support through the lockdown, the British Safety Council is developing new services to help organisations adapt as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Mike Robinson, CEO of the British Safety Council, said: “The announcement compounded a week of mixed messages that will put workers at risk. It is reckless to urge people back to work before clear guidance has been published and before employers have put in place plans to make workplaces safe. Instead of a phased plan allowing managers to understand and interpret guidance, anxious workers are going to be piling back on to public transport without any clear rules and guidance. We are working to help our members and customers carry out proper risk assessments, but the confusing messages from Government are not helping anyone.”

Robinson went on to state: “We will look in detail at the guidance. We are working closely with members to ensure that employers carry out their duty to ensure workers are safe, whether that’s at home, travelling to and from work or in their place of work. I know that most people are keen to eturn to work and back to some form of normality, but if we follow this chaotic approach, we risk undermining all the hard work achieved through the lockdown.”

Concluding his statement in a strong fashion, Robinson urged: “In a national emergency, there is a strong instinct to afford the Government the benefit of the doubt, but they need to sort this mess out. The guidance must put the safety of workers front and centre and end the current state of confusion.”