Agencies make workers pay for protection
Employment agencies are ignoring safety laws and requiring staff to stump up for their protective equipment, construction union UCATT has revealed. The union is calling for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to take action. UCATT says its officials 'have become increasingly alarmed that many employment agencies require construction workers to supply their own personal protective equipment (PPE) or alternatively charge the worker if they supply it.' The union says the law is clear, stating 'an employer cannot ask for money from an employee for PPE, whether it is returnable or not.' UCATT executive council member Dennis Doody raised the union's concerns at least week's meeting of the construction industry advisory committee, CONIAC. 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 being available in the construction industry, places already vulnerable workers at greater risk of injury.' Mr Doody said several well-known agencies were breaching the law. He said the union had particular concerns about Bespoke Recruitment. This firm is run by Simon Noakes, the chair of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) construction group. Mr Doody said: '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.' Recent entries on the Bespoke Recruitment webpage now have no mention of PPE.
Issued: 25 March, 2011