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Firms should be closed down if they fail to comply with rules aimed at keeping workers safe, unions demand

FIRMS should be closed down if they fail to comply with rules aimed at keeping workers safe, unions demanded today.

The TUC called on the government to take fresh steps to protect people still going into work, and said anyone who feared for their safety should not face punishment or dismissal.

Unions have voiced concerns that many employees who cannot work from home are being exposed to unnecessary Covid-19 risk because their employers are not putting adequate safety measures in place.

The TUC is calling for the imposition of robust new rules on the safety measures employers should put in place, formal risk assessments in workplaces and a new enforcement body, with the power to shut down workplaces if employers fail to comply.

Hundreds of workers have contacted the TUC to raise concerns about workplace safety, with many reporting failure to implement social distancing, lack of protective equipment and cleaning measures, and non-essential sharing of tools and clocking-in systems.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "With coronavirus infections increasing, employers must do all they can to keep their workers safe.

"Many people who have to go into work are raising the alarm about their working conditions.

"No-one should have to endanger their own health and put their families and the wider community at risk.

"Government must introduce strong new rules to keep workers safe, and those employers who flout the rules should be forced to close.

"We all want businesses to get through this crisis and keep workers in their jobs, but employers must also play their part in stopping the spread of the virus, protecting our NHS and saving lives."

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