DVLA to be questioned over the death of worker who died after contracting coronavirus

  • Watch the report by Swansea Correspondent Dean Thomas-Welch

Bosses at the DVLA in Swansea are to be questioned by the Health and Safety Executive following the death of a worker after he tested positive for coronavirus, ITV Wales understands.

Phil Grant, who was over the age of sixty and had an underlying heart condition, died within 28 days of a positive Covid test after working at the government agency's Morriston site. 

The DVLA is one the largest employers in Swansea and it is believed to have had one of the most serious workplace outbreaks of coronavirus in the UK after more than 500 positive Covid-19 cases were reported at its sites since September last year.

The HSE are to make initial enquiries after Mr Grant, who was over the age of sixty and had an underlying heart condition, died within 28 days of a positive Covid test after being told to work at the government agency's Morriston site. 

The PCS Union has called on senior management at the DVLA to cooperate fully with the HSE's initial inquiry want a formal investigation into the death Mr Grant.

In a statement, Mark Serwotka from the PCS Union said he was hopeful there would a formal investigation.

"We have huge concerns about what's been going on [at the DVLA] so we welcome the fact the HSE are making initial enquiries", he told ITV News.

"But, we do believe it should be a formal investigation because there's been over 600 cases and tragically a death which tells us this was always unsatisfactory. So, a full investigation is what is required."

Just this week, the union said staff at the Swansea site are set to stage fresh strikes in a dispute over Covid safety concerns.

Public Health Wales declared a Covid-19 outbreak at the DVLA's contact centre last December but this was declared over in February.

The HSE said their inquiries come after it received a report of the death of an employee at the company.

It confirmed the purpose of enquiries is to "determine whether they should conduct a full investigation."

The PCS union has said it is hopeful there will be a formal investigation into working practices at the DVLA

In a statement a DVLA spokesperson said, “The health and safety of our colleagues is of paramount importance to DVLA and we are fully co-operating with the Health and Safety Executive as part of their enquiries.  

“Our thoughts are with all those affected by our colleague’s death.”

In March, an ITV News investigation found that DVLA workers were sat less than two metres apart up until as late as February 2021, with the lack of safe distancing described as a "national scandal".

Grant Shapps, the UK Government Transport Secretary, denied reports that staff working at DVLA sites in Swansea had been asked to switch off their NHS track and trace apps Credit: PA Images

In January the UK Government Transport Secretary Grant Shapps dismissed reports that DVLA staff had been told to turn off their NHS test and trace apps.

The DVLA also denied the reports, insisting it had always followed Covid-19 safety regulations.

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