Employer investigates misconduct as YouTube airs construction workers ‘japes’

Construction industry employers have reacted with outrage after images of workers being beaten, set on fire and acting dangerously were posted on video-sharing website YouTube.

The grainy videos surfaced after a tip-off to Personnel Today’s sister publication Contract Journal.

The video clips show mobile phone footage of on-site workers wearing hard hats and high visibility jackets while engaged in a variety of shocking activities, including:

  • A worker smashing a colleague over the head with a large board for not wearing a hard hat.
  • A construction worker jumping from a five-metre high scissor lift into a pile of cardboard boxes.
  • A builder diving into a container of wet cement.
  • Labourers using a flammable substance to set fire to each other’s hard hats and work boots.

In some sequences, workers can be seen wearing jackets with the logo of building contractor NG Bailey.

The company’s chief executive, Mark Andrews, called the content of the videos “utterly disgusting” and promised to crack down on the offenders.

“Steps are being taken to enhance the footage in an attempt to identity the individuals involved,” he said.

“NG Bailey has well-established policies concerning conduct on site,” he added, “including the use of mobile phones, which are prohibited.”

Any employee going against these strict codes would be dealt with under the firm’s zero-tolerance policy, Andrews said.

The Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association, which represents employers in the sector, said the behaviour represented the “unacceptable face of construction”.

And Paul Sykes, recruitment manager at Sector Skills Council ConstructionSkills, said the footage was “the worst possible advert” for the industry.

What do you think? Unacceptable behaviour or harmless horseplay? E-mail your comments to personneltoday@rbi.co.uk

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