Migrant workers face ‘safety apartheid’, lawyer warns

The UK risks creating a “safety apartheid” by its treatment of migrant workers in hazardous industries, lawyers have warned.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has called for measures to ensure all employees are given the safety training they require, after a BBC investigation revealed a migrant underclass.

Undercover Lithuanian journalist Audrius Lelkaitis, working on behalf of the BBC, found migrant workers were lied to, paid illegally low wages and forced to live in cramped conditions. Lelkaitis also found evidence of migrant workers working in hazardous conditions with little or no training.

Adrian Budgen, a partner in the Workplace Injuries Department at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We fear that as more migrant workers enter the workforce, in some of the country’s most hazardous industries, a safety apartheid may be created.

“Duties as regards to health and safety are the same whether the worker is from London or Poland, and employers need to ensure that their employees are adequately trained and that proper and clearly understandable information has been given to employees about risks to their health.”

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