Forthcoming analysis by the TUC shows employers have notified the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of 387 work-related Covid deaths since April 2020 even though the Office for National Statistics has identified 15,263 people of working age who died from Covid over the same period.
“It is just not credible that only 2.5% of working-age Covid deaths are down to occupational exposure,” said Shelly Asquith, TUC health and safety officer. “We believe employers are massively under-reporting the number of people who have died after catching Covid at work.”
There have been 3,872 Covid outbreaks in workplaces and 4,253 outbreaks in education settings yet not a single employer has been prosecuted for breaching Covid regulations.
- More than 600 transport and storage workers died last year from the virus, according to the ONS (Office of National Statistics), but only 10 deaths in the sector were reported.
- Nearly 140 people working in schools, colleges and universities died last year but employers only informed the HSE of 9 deaths.
Employers are supposed to report work-related Covid cases and deaths within 10 days. But unions believe this legal requirement is routinely flouted because firms are allowed to determine themselves if infections occurred inside or outside work.
Asquith, who carried out the research, added most of these deaths occurred during lockdowns when the hospitality industry was closed. “Work was the main place where people were mixing at that time and therefore it is likely that many of those deaths were work-related,” she added.