There are growing concerns about the number of managers who are forcing their staff to return to non-Covid-compliant workplaces during lockdown.

According to a report by The Observer, the Health and Safety Executive received nearly 3,000 complaints about Covid safety issues between 6 and 14 January.

To date the HSE has conducted more than 32,000 site visits but no employer has been fined or prosecuted for breaching coronavirus safety guidelines. A spokesperson for the HSE said it would “continue to be out and about, putting employers on the spot and checking that they are complying with health and safety law”.

The spokesperson said: “We continue to scale up the number of spot check calls and visits we are doing so we can reach as many businesses as possible during the current lockdown period.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “If the government is upping enforcement, ministers should start with employers who break Covid safety rules.”

She also urged more funding for the HSE “to stop rogue employers getting away with putting staff at risk. Every employer needs to know an inspection could happen any time”.

A spokesperson for the government said: “The law is clear that people can only leave the home to work if they cannot reasonably work from home.

“We have worked with trade unions, businesses and medical experts to produce comprehensive Covid-secure guidance so that businesses permitted to remain open can do so in a way that is as safe as possible for workers and customers. This is kept under review as our understanding of the virus develops.”

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