MPs criticise Health and Safety Executive's response following three Covid-19 deaths at Barnsley food factory

Dave Baxter, 55, who worked at the factory, died from coronavirus in April Credit: Family photo

MPs have raised concerns about the way the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) handled complaints about safety at Cranswick Foods in Barnsley after 3 staff members died from coronavirus.

John Healey, MP for Wentworth & Dearne and Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East say they have both received complaints from concerned workers and relatives about the food factory in Wombwell.

Both MPs say they are concerned that no site visits were carried out by health and safety officials, criticising the HSE as "toothless".

Dave Baxter, 55, who worked at the factory, died from coronavirus in April. his partner, Leander Lupton has been speaking to Mr Healey.

John Healy explained:

According to research carried out by the Labour Party, funding for the Health and Safety Executive, which is responsible for enforcing Covid-19 regulations, has been cut by more than half since 2010.

Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East said:

According to Ms Lupton, her partner, Mr Bater left work for the final time on 1 April and was admitted to hospital five days later.

She explained:

In a statement, a Cranswick spokesman said:

There have been 11 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among Cranswick Foods staff.

John Healey explains he received a letter from the HSE saying they have received four reports about the Valley Park site as well as concerns about another Cranswick site in Hull.

The MPs are concerned that the national effort to fight coronavirus is undermined without enough funding and a proper system for workplace inspections.

Mr Healey has also asked Parliamentary Questions and written to the HSE chief executive, to ask what criteria would trigger an on-site inspection, and how many on-site inspections of businesses have been carried out by HSE relating to Covid-19 regulations this year.

A HSE Spokesperson said: