The UK industrial injuries scheme is not protecting workers from developing occupational diseases including Covid-19, according to the Labour members of the Scottish Parliament.
Labour is calling for Scotland to introduce its own, more comprehensive scheme. Central Scotland MSP Mark Griffin now intends to propose a Member’s Bill calling for Covid-19 infections in the workplace to be classed as ‘an occupational disease’.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics reveal that up to December 2020 employers in Scotland made over 1,350 reports of workers contracting the virus in their workplaces.
It has been acknowledged there is massive under-reporting of cases. Griffin noted that reform of Scotland’s industrial injuries support system was long overdue before the pandemic, adding that the scale of the damage done by Covid-19 has made that reform a matter of urgency.
“Coronavirus has ripped through workplaces across Scotland, exposing thousands to the virus and tragically leading to deaths. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg,” he added.
The proposals would also see the creation of a Scottish Employment Injuries Advisory Council and measures to tackle the gender gap of people seeking support. The Bill would also modernise industrial injury social security support.