Majority of UK employees feel unsafe in their workplace

Experts warn of ‘crucial’ need for businesses to prioritise flexibility and building safety for those unable to work remotely.

The majority of UK workers do not feel safe working on their employer’s premises, a survey has suggested, with many still worried about the risk of Covid transmission.

A poll of employees found that nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of respondents did not feel completely safe in their workplace, with half (51 per cent) worried about contracting coronavirus by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

The research, which polled 500 UK workers who are usually based in large buildings with 500 or more people, also found that just 45 per cent of workplaces had safety protocols in place such as social distancing and mandatory mask wearing. This was despite the majority of respondents (51 per cent) citing such measures as fundamental to making them feel safe at work.

Workers were also unhappy about their future safety. Nearly two-thirds of those polled (62 per cent) believed their management was more likely to make short-term changes in response to coronavirus rather than making long-term investments in building systems needed to keep workers safe. Similarly, 43 per cent cited concerns that building management would not consistently enforce health and safety guidelines.

The findings have prompted renewed calls for businesses to urgently offer flexible working wherever possible and to put more effort into safety where employees are required to come into the office.

Where it’s necessary for workplaces to be open, employers need to double down on their efforts to make them Covid secure. Businesses need to consult with workers about their queries and concerns and to have better lines of communication with their facility managers.

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