The British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced information
material to inform Polish construction workers about on-site health and safety.
Research has suggested that foreign workers are vulnerable to potentially
dangerous working practices and the Polish community is one of three
nationalities receiving advice in particular. The new HSE campaign wants to get
the message across to Polish workers about the role of the HSE in helping to
protect them using existing law and making them aware that they have just as
many rights to a healthy and safe working environment as indigenous workers.
Philip White, HSE's Chief Inspector of Construction said: "We recognised that
we needed to target health and safety information at some of the more
vulnerable workers in construction. We have employed specialist outreach
representatives from the Polish community to get our messages across much more
effectively to London-based workers. Reducing the risks faced by the most
vulnerable enables all construction workers to work in safer conditions and we
hope will minimise potentially dangerous incidents on site."
The campaign stems from HSE research into incidents on construction sites that
identifies migrant workers as a particularly vulnerable group of construction
workers. Carried out by Synovate, the research concluded that:
Migrant workers' knowledge of health and safety standards is limited. The
understandable desire by migrant workers to work hard and to stay out of
trouble can lead to employers cutting corners on health and safety without
being questioned. As well as employing a Polish outreach worker, health and
safety information has been produced in Polish and other languages.
Bartek Zdrowowicz, the outreach worker for the Polish community said: "Health
and safety is just as important for migrants. Arriving in a foreign country,
people may become vulnerable and exposed to different forms of exploitation or
possible accidents caused by their completely new conditions of life, or just a
language barrier. That is why it is essential to inform them about their rights
and duties not only to protect themselves and people they work with, but even
further - members of the public as well."
Simon Hester, the HSE Project Manager, said, "We have had a very positive
response from everyone we have talked to in the Polish community so far. Our
aim is a rapid and clear change in workers' understanding of their rights and
how to make complaints."
AplusA-online.de - Source: Health and Safety Executive