SPECIALIST North-East lawyers have expressed their concerns over workplaces putting employees at risk of Covid-19.

The Observer has reported that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforcement database reveals it has not issued any Covid-related prohibition notices, which allow the immediate halt of activity deemed injurious or damaging to health, since last March.

This is despite more than 3,500 outbreaks of the virus at workplaces since the start of the pandemic.

It also follows the Government defending the HSE’s decision to classify Covid-19 as ‘significant’ rather than place it in the highest category of ‘serious’ after Labour’s shadow employment minister Andy McDonald questioned it.

Roger Maddocks, specialist workplace illness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell in Newcastle, said: “As Covid-19 still continues to affect thousands of people around the country, it is vital that workplaces are taking every precaution necessary to prevent their employees from being at risk of this terrible virus.

“Through our work, we have handled many legal cases involving exposure to dangers in the workplace.

“Employers have a legal duty to keep their staff safe and we call on them take precautions and provide suitable and effective personal protective equipment."

Latest figures from Public Health England show that a total of 3,549 Covid-19 outbreaks had occurred in workplaces since last July, with100 outbreaks last week alone.