A survey of more than 2100 workplace safety representatives reveals that many employers are failing to follow Covid-secure rules to keep workers safe.
The biennial survey has highlighted employer failures on risk assessments, social distancing and the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, the TUC said.
More than a quarter of union safety representatives said they were not aware of a formal risk assessment being carried out in their workplace in the last two years, covering the period of the pandemic.
Of those who said their employers had carried out a risk assessment, 23% said they felt the risk assessments were inadequate.
More than three-quarters of safety representatives (83%) said employees had tested positive for Covid-19 in their workplace, while more than half (57%) said their workplaces had seen a “significant” number of cases.
Echoing previous criticism of lack of action by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 22% said their workplace had never been visited by an HSE inspector, as far as they were aware.
A quarter (25%) of representatives said their employer did not always implement physical distancing between colleagues through social distancing or physical barriers, while 22% said their employer did not always implement appropriate physical distancing between employees and customers, clients or patients.
Almost two-thirds of safety representatives (65%) said they are dealing with an increased number of mental health concerns since the pandemic began and 76% cited stress as a workplace hazard.
Alongside the survey, the TUC has published a report commissioned from the University of Greenwich which shows an absence of health and safety compliance in UK workplaces.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Britain’s safety representatives are sounding the alarm. Too many workplaces are not Covid-secure. This is a big worry for people expecting to return to their workplace soon. And it should be a big priority for ministers too.”