Migrants ‘twice as likely to be killed at work’

Migrant workers employed in the construction industry are twice as likely to die at work compared to their British counterparts, a report has found.

A freedom of information request to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that 12 migrant workers died in the construction industry in 2007-08 – representing 17% of total fatalities in the sector, despite migrants only making up 8% of the workforce.

The research carried out by the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA), in association with employment law firm Irwin Mitchell, found the deaths represented a six-fold increase in the number who died at work in 2002-03.

In total, 18 migrant workers died across all sectors in 2007-08, representing 8% of the 229 work-related deaths.

The report called on the HSE to commission research urgentlyinto why migrant workers faced increased dangers on construction sites.

Colin Ettinger, partner and an expert in workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: “These figures are a matter of considerable concern. Every employer has a duty to ensure that staff are able to work safely, wherever they’re employed, and it’s a real worry to see that people coming to the UK to work are at more risk of injury, or even worse, being killed, than their UK colleagues.”

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of the construction union UCATT, said the figures were “deeply disturbing”.

No official information is currently available on the level of injuries to migrant workers, as the HSE does not record nationality in injury cases.

In March Personnel Today reported some construction jobs could be removed from the migrant worker shortage list,preventing non-EU nationals applying for these jobs.

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