HSE and local authorities received accounts of 8,666 individual cases of coronavirus in workplaces, according to data it released on 17 August.
Of these, 125 were fatalities due to evidence of coronavirus exposure in the workplace. Most deaths occurred in England (110 deaths), with just seven reported in Wales and eight in Scotland.
The majority of cases were reported in sectors covering human health, residential care activities and social work over the period from 10 April to 8 August.
There were 3,120 cases reported in care homes, and 3,332 cases in human health activities including hospitals and GP and dental practices.
Cases show a decline over the four months covered. In the peak of the pandemic, in the week from 26 April to 2 May, 23 deaths and 1,160 cases were reported. From 2 to 8 August, there were 152 cases reported and no deaths.
Occupational Covid-19 cases are reportable to HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). However, although HSE changed the disease report form for RIDDOR to enable cases of Covid-19 to be reported, there is still a huge issue of under-reporting.
For example, HSE has reported 47 cases of Covid-19 in food manufacture in total. But, 74 workers at a Bakkavor food factory in Nottinghamshire tested positive for coronavirus last week in August alone.
HSE says data for occupational coronavirus is open to error, partly because there is already under-reporting for workplace injuries and even more so for disease reporting: “In terms of reporting workplace non-fatal injuries, it is estimated that around half of RIDDOR reportable injuries to employees are reported to the enforcing authorities (for self-employed the proportion is substantially less). It is likely that disease reporting is lower.”
HSE says, however that the data does provide “an indicator of the numbers being reported to the enforcing authority and how this changes over time”.
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