Sunday 17 January 2021 9:56 am

Businesses flouting Covid rules get free pass

No enforcement notices have been served on companies by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors for Covid safety breaches since the country entered its latest lockdown.

Inspectors were contacted 2,945 times about workplace safety issues between 6 and 14 January, the Guardian reported, but no notices were served.

Enforcement notices initially ask businesses to remedy unsafe practices, and are later followed by fines if businesses do not comply.

Overall just 0.1 per cent of the nearly 97,000 Covid safety cases dealt with by the agency during the pandemic have resulted in an improvement or prohibition safety notice, and not a single company has been prosecuted for Covid-related breaches of safety laws, according to the Guardian.

In the latest national lockdown all non-essential shops are supposed to be closed and workers have been urged to work from home unless they absolutely cannot do so, to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The HSE told the Guardian it had scaled up its proactive work to check, support and advise businesses on public health guidance, and had carried out more than 32,000 visits during the pandemic.

“Inspectors continue to be out and about, putting employers on the spot and checking that they are complying with health and safety law. Our role in contributing to the national response to reduce Covid-19 transmissions and support economic recovery has been widely recognised,” a spokesperson added.