Workplace Report November 2020

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

HSE finds test contractor in breach of H&S

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found NHS Covid-19 testing contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) “in material breach” of several health and safety regulations, according to the IWGB union. The findings follow the launch of legal proceedings by the union against the company for trade union detriment and victimisation of whistleblowers who raised safety concerns.

A letter from the HSE to TDL sets out that the company did not properly inform its couriers about how they should clean containers transporting Covid-19 samples and did not properly inform them on the use of masks and gloves. TDL’s Covid-19 risk assessment for couriers was not suitable and sufficient, it said, and it did not properly consult couriers or their representatives in its development. The IWGB says reps raised concerns about health and safety in March, but shortly afterwards, “some of the workers that raised concerns were made redundant, in a clear act of whistleblower victimisation”.

IWGB couriers and logistics branch chair and former TDL courier Alex Marshall said the report “proves that TDL, a private company which stands to make a fortune from the pandemic and is being offered millions of pounds to safeguard public health, can’t even ensure basic health and safety for its own workers.”