Answers sought from COVID inquiry over worker deaths

May 12, 2022

On Worker’s Memorial Day (28 April) the TUC and COVID Bereaved Families for Justice called for the public inquiry into Coronavirus to focus on what could have been done to prevent worker deaths.

In response to Baroness Hallett’s public consultation on the draft terms of reference of the inquiry, they said that alongside scrutinising the quality of decision-making across the pandemic response in government, the public inquiry must specifically look at:

• the management, inspection and enforcement of safety in workplaces, including the role of government guidance, regulatory and enforcement bodies, employers and unions

• the impact of the pandemic in different sectors, including health and social care but also education, transport, and manufacturing including food and textiles and retail

• the reasons for the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on BME and disabled people

• a comparison of the different approaches across all nations of the UK.

Government is being called on to ensure that any recommendations from Baroness Hallett that widen the scope of the inquiry to include the points above are not rejected.

According to the TUC, over 15,000 people of working age died in the pandemic. Many of those were key workers in high-risk workplaces in sectors such as health, social care, transport, food processing and textiles. BME workers were particularly hard hit, with BME men 57% more likely to be working in jobs with a higher mortality rate, and BME women 48% more likely.

 

This is valid as of 12th May 2022.

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