UCATT urge action urged following construction deaths

Construction union UCATT are calling on the Health and Safety Executive to urgently review their reporting methods and for the industry to examine safety requirements, following new evidence on migrant worker deaths.

An investigation by UCATT has discovered that in 2014/15 (the most recent reporting year) the highest number of construction fatalities was in London with seven deaths. Of these seven deaths five were migrant workers, (71%).

UCATT discovered the evidence be analysing and researching the names of the deceased workers, as the Health and Safety Executive do not record the nationality of workers who suffer a fatal accident.

Jerry Swain, Regional Secretary for London and the South East, said:

“Each of these deaths was an individual tragedy. It is essential that issues such as different safety standards and methods of working in countries, language issues and whether the deceased were new to the construction industry are properly considered in order to prevent future fatalities. This is simply not going to happen if the HSE continues to fail to address and record the nationality of workers who suffer a fatal accident.”

One area where UCATT has called for reform is in the CSCS health and safety test. Rather than a simple tick box exercise, UCATT believes that worker should not start on a site until they have completed a minimum of a one day safety course.

Mr Swain added:

“Anyone can be taught to pass a tick box exam. That does not mean that they will not endanger themselves or their colleagues when they are working in construction. A proper safety course with a thorough assessment of a worker’s understanding of safety must be the minimum requirement before they go on site.”

UCATT is the UK’s only trade union dedicated to construction workers. Read more about them here.