The Health and Safety Executive is preparing a campaign to improve the safety standards of migrant workers in construction.
The HSE, which is due to announce its annual statistics for fatalities at the end of the month, is concerned about the high number of accidents among foreign workers, particularly those from Eastern Europe.
Safety among migrant workers has become an increasing concern since European Union countries reached agreement on the European Services Directive. When this comes into force it will make it easier for workers to find employment in other EU countries.
Stephen Williams, the HSE’s chief inspector of construction, said: “We’re looking at migrant workers. It is an area we need to focus on.”
Williams added that his department had commissioned further analysis of statistics to determine whether accidents involving migrants were disproportionate to the number of foreign workers in the industry.
It is expected that the HSE will announce measures to tackle the issue when it publishes its final statistics at the end of July.
The services directive, which has its final reading in the European parliament in December, is likely to add to the influx of cheap labour.
The situation will be exacerbated by the current skills shortage: a report from the Learning and Skills Council this week claimed 35% of all vacancies in construction are not being filled.
• Trevor Walker, former chairman of the Construction Confederation, has been appointed chairman of construction skills scheme CSCS. The role was previously held by George Brumwell, who died last year.
UCATT general secretary Alan Ritchie has been made deputy chairman of the scheme, and CIC deputy chairman Stuart Henderson and BAA’s Gren Tipper have been appointed directors.