Last reviewed 30 June 2020

In a recent report, MPs have noted that during the pandemic, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) required only one business to close and had not inspected a single care home since 10 March 2020, warning that the Government needs to ensure the watchdog has the necessary funding to carry out its role.

The report, by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee analyses Britain’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

It notes that many people are “very worried about how safe they are at work during the pandemic”.

However, the MPs say although the health and safety watchdog received “thousands of concerns from workers,” it required just one employer to close as a result of coronavirus and had not inspected a single care home since 10 March.

Furthermore, the report says of the HSE, “It keeps no records on how many workplaces voluntarily close after an intervention by HSE, making it impossible to measure the impact it has had. It should work to improve the transparency of its reporting, to send a clear message about the impact it has had.”

The report also notes that the Prime Minister has made clear that HSE will be expected to undertake spot checks of employers to ensure that they are “Covid-secure” as people return to work.

However, the MPs point out that “it is not yet clear how these employers will be selected, or how many checks will be performed”.

The report recommends that HSE should “urgently clarify what its role will be as the pandemic unfolds”, and that the Government should then “ensure that it receives whatever level of funding is needed to implement this new and future inspection regimes”.

The report warns that, “Following years of cuts, this is likely significantly to exceed the £14 million funding increase announced in May.”

The report can be accessed via the Parliamentary Publications webpages.