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UNION CONCERN ON EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES APPROACH TO PPE

UCATT “alarmed” that employment agencies charge for worker protection

Construction union UCATT is calling on HSE to take action on the “growing problem of employment agencies ignoring safety laws on personal protective equipment (PPE)”.

The union is alarmed that “many” employment agencies require construction agency workers to supply their own PPE or alternatively charge the worker for supplying. Dennis Doody of UCATT raised the issue at the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) meeting on 16th March 2011. He said:

“Increasingly UCATT officials are finding that agencies are forcing workers to supply their own PPE. This is against safety regulations and given growing concerns about fake and counterfeit PPE places already vulnerable workers at greater risk of injury.”

Mr Doody named several agencies and identified Bespoke Recruitment in particular. Simon Noakes of Bespoke chairs the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) construction group and has previously stated that REC has “a specific focus on the health and safety of the flexible workforce”. However, UCATT claim that jobs advertised on the Bespoke website have a requirement for applicants to have PPE.

Mr Doody, added:

“REC claim that they take safety seriously, however until senior people in that organisation begin to follow safety regulations themselves, then construction workers will need to take these pledges with a very large pinch of salt.”

UCATT are seeking assurances from the HSE that inspectors will check that PPE is being freely supplied with a special focus on agency workers.

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