Covid-19 compensation claims against employers
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) workers in low-skilled jobs are the most likely to die after contracting Covid-19, with male security guards among those with the highest death rate. Male construction workers, taxi drivers, bus and coach drivers, plant processing workers and chefs are also among those with the highest coronavirus death rates.
Perhaps surprisingly healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, were not found to have a higher mortality rate compared with others of the same age and sex, although there was a slightly raised rate among care home workers. It is possible that more care home workers have been infected than NHS staff as they have not received the same protection from the virus with limited PPE being made available.
One industry that appears to have been impacted worldwide is meat processing plants and slaughterhouses. The US has been hardest hit, suffering outbreaks at 180 meat and processed food plans. But other countries are also struggling, including the UK.
The reasons for the meat processing coronavirus outbreaks are said to be a combination of crowded working conditions, workforces that are often made up predominantly of workers living in multi-occupancy housing, and the fact that plants have remained open during the crisis. Many small slaughterhouses have been shut down over recent years in favour of fewer, much larger plants that may have thousands of workers.
As a result the coronavirus crisis is set to result in Covid-19 compensation claims against employers who fail to take reasonable precautions to keep their staff safe.
Slee Blackwell are acting for one butcher who has tested positive for Covid-19. He had been working at a plant where social distancing was implemented in the offices, but not on the shop floor where over 100 staff worked closely together. In addition PPE was not supplied for a number of weeks after the outbreak and questions were not asked by employers regarding their employees health until after symptoms were reported.
Slee Blackwell personal injury lawyer Elizabeth Duncan commented:
“It is clear that many industries which have continued during the lockdown have not properly looked after their employees during this crisis. Our client’s case highlights the problem confronting workers in meat processing and other industries. While many in office based jobs are able to take steps to protect themselves or work from home, workers on the shop floor are reliant on their employers to keep them safe. If they fail to do so and staff become sick as a result then they can be held legally responsible for that.
We shall be claiming compensation not just for the fact that our client has suffered Covid-19, but also for lost earnings and other expenses he has incurred as a result.”