Migrant construction workers benefit from visual safety aids

Deaths and injuries among UK-based migrant construction workers could be reduced if pictures were used in safety training, research has argued.

A project carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University has revealed that migrant workers’ understanding of building-site health and safety improves when images are used in training.

The study, commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, has come as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in February carried out another inspection “blitz” on construction sites.

The initiative ran from 20 February to 16 March with a focus on high-risk activities such as working at height and “good order”, including ensuring that sites were clean and tidy with clear access routes.

The HSE has calculated that during 2010/11, 50 workers were killed while working in construction and 2,298 major injuries were reported. It has also argued that migrant workers in the sector are more likely to be fatally injured than those native to the UK.

In fact, 6% of Britain’s 2.3 million construction workers are migrants, yet they account for a disproportionate 17% of work-related deaths in the sector, said the HSE.

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