25 Nov, 2021/ by National Accident Helpline /Campaigns
We're launching a new campaign to tackle injustices in the construction sector, as we've found evidence of a culture where workers are reluctant to speak up if accidents or injuries are suffered on site.
The construction industry is predicted to continue to bounce back in 2022 from the COVID-19 pandemic, growing by 6.3%. Because of this, and the stories we've heard about blacklisting and unfair treatment, with reports of a culture which minimises injuries and the effects of accidents, we think it's more important than ever to have a conversation about injustices in the construction industry.
Our ‘Rights on Site' campaign was borne out of the discovery of an embedded culture in the construction industry where workers are largely reluctant to speak up after accidents and injuries.
We've started this campaign to change this culture, because we want construction workers to understand their rights and get the justice they deserve if they have an accident at work that isn't their fault, or if they are facing unfair treatment.
As well as talking to workers via a focus group, we conducted a survey that revealed 42% of British male workers said that the prospect of getting justice would be an influential factor in making their decision on whether to seek compensation for an injury suffered at work.
“Blacklisting” is a major factor contributing to the injustices faced by construction workers that we will look to explore with our Rights on Site campaign.
Blacklisting is a secret vetting system that some construction firms use that not only harms workers' reputations and keeps them from being hired for work, but also disregards their rights to privacy and data protection.
The Employment Regulations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 made blacklisting in relation to trade union activity illegal in the UK. But unfortunately this law has not suppressed the fear of being blacklisted, as construction workers we've spoken to have referenced blacklisting in relation to making personal injury claims when accidents occur on site.
Discussing the launch of our Rights on Site campaign, Jonathan White, our Legal and Compliance Director, said:
No one should ever feel bullied or shamed into not coming forward about any unfair treatment or injustice that they've experienced on the job - it's a matter of doing the right thing.
Ultimately, we go to work to earn a living, and if that job for some unfortunate reason results in an injury through no fault of our own, we are entitled to carry on living our lives without worrying about bills or supporting our family.
We believe that ‘Rights on Site' will help right many wrongs that construction industry workers currently face. In the coming weeks, we will be calling for justice and sharing thoughts from the workers themselves who have witnessed it first-hand.