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Workplace Health and Safety Laws

Volume 689: debated on Tuesday 9 February 2021

What recent steps he has taken with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to improve the enforcement of workplace health and safety laws. (912058)

The Government have invested an additional £14 million to support the Health and Safety Executive’s enforcement of health and safety laws. My Department has provided guidance on safer working in response to covid-19 that helps to inform the HSE’s monitoring and enforcement activities. This guidance is kept under continuous review.

Given the emergence of new, more transmissible strains of covid-19, why has the Minister not updated his Department’s workplace guidance with stronger recommendations on ventilation, personal protective equipment and the increasing requirement for effective surface disinfectants to be used, so that everyone can be kept safe at work?

The HSE and Public Health England continue to look at the guidance, and they believe that it is robust enough for the new variants. It has been very clear, right from the outset, that ventilation is an important weapon in tackling covid.