1 October: The UK government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found NHS Covid-19 testing contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) in material breach of several health and safety regulations. The findings follow the launch of legal proceedings by the IWGB against TDL over the victimisation and dismissal of trade union activists and whistleblowers who had raised health and safety concerns. (Full report here)
The HSE found that TDL has put its courier fleet at a heightened risk of contamination because:
IWGB reps had initially raised concerns about TDL’s health and safety practices in March. Shortly after, some of the workers that raised concerns were made redundant, in a clear act of whistleblower victimisation.
Alex Marshall, IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch chair & former TDL cycle courier, says: “This report is extremely concerning. It proves that TDL, a private company which stands to make a fortune from the pandemic and is being offered millions of pounds to safeguard public health, can’t even ensure basic health and safety for its own workers. I am relieved that these issues, which TDL sacked me for speaking out about, are finally being brought to light.”
TDL is one of the key providers of tests and courier services for the NHS, including through its Health Services Laboratories partnership with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. TDL couriers were also transporting Covid-19 samples from The Nightingale hospital in London to laboratories.
The company has partnered with Superdrug on Covid-19 home testing kits and signed a £4 million deal with the Premier League. In a recent email seen by the IWGB, CEO David Byrne also announced TDL has been contracted by the Department of Health and Social Care to create a new high-volume Covid-19 testing facility. The results from this facility will inform the nation’s health program and strategic decisions around travel restrictions and local lockdowns.
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