Last reviewed 9 November 2020

A new recent survey has found that more than one in three workers have an active concern about the transmission of Covid-19 in their workplace.

The finding is based on research from the British think tank the Resolution Foundation and drew on an online YouGov survey of 6061 adults across the UK.

The survey looked at the extent of workers’ Covid concerns, what steps employers are taking to make workplaces Covid-secure, and how unsafe practices are dealt with.

It found the following.

  • Despite 90% of employers taking multiple steps to mitigate risks ― such as providing hand sanitiser or enforcing social distancing ― more than one-third of workers (35%) who were back in the workplace in September 2020 were still worried about catching Covid on the job.

  • Low-paid workers were among the most likely to be worried but were least likely to raise concerns, or see their complaints resolved if they did so.

  • Similarly, young workers of around 18 to 24 years old were almost half as likely to raise a Covid-related complaint as those in the 55 to 64 year-old bracket (36%, compared to 67%), despite a higher share of young workers expressing concerns about catching the virus at work (a finding driven by them being more likely to work in higher-risk customer-facing roles).

  • Nearly half (47%) of workers who were spending time in the workplace rated the risk of Covid-19 transmission at work as fairly or very high.

  • Covid concerns were most common among black, Asian and minority ethnic workers (47%), those living in a household where someone’s shielding (45%), and among workers in caring (44%) and customer-facing (41%) roles, such as shops and restaurants.

Lindsay Judge, Research Director at the Resolution Foundation, said, “Given many workers’ limited ability to get employers to address Covid concerns, the UK needs a strong enforcement regime to ensure that workplaces are as safe as can be”.