U.K.: Migrants at Greater Risk for Work Accidents, HSE Says

Oct. 30, 2006
New research from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the United Kingdom has revealed that migrant workers face an increased risk of workplace accidents because they work in more-hazardous jobs without adequate training and because they work longer hours and shifts.

Drawing on interviews with 200 migrant workers in five regions of England and Wales, researchers found that migrant workers may be experiencing higher levels of workplace accidents because they are more likely to work long hours, to work shifts and to have limited understanding of health and safety.

Communication difficulties and the fact that migrants are more likely to take up work in sectors in which they have not been trained or have experience working in also were contributing factors, according to HSE.

In addition, the report notes that because many of these migrant workers move to the United Kingdom in hopes of earning as much money possible in the shortest amount of time, the risks of workplace injuries are exacerbated.

To tackle the issues raised by the findings, the research recommends better-targeted HSE inspection, enforcement and supporting activity as well as greater provision of targeted health and safety advice and support for migrant workers and those who employ them.

"We are already taking action to implement the research's key findings," said Jeremy Bevan, HSE program manager on migrant workers. "In particular we are continuing to target inspections and enforcement in sectors where migrant workers and other vulnerable workers are most likely to work, and are currently reviewing how best to reach these workers and their employers with key health and safety messages,"

Bevan also said HSE is working with other government departments to crack down on employers who are consistently evading government regulations.

The research, which was conducted by London Metropolitan University on behalf of HSE, can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr502.htm.

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