Employers 'must protect migrant workers'

11-09-2006

Employers need to be extra-vigilant in protecting migrant staff, a new report claims.

Health and Safety Commission figures show that of the 59 workers who died in the construction industry last year, five were migrant workers, the report from Norwich Union states.

The company has introduced a new Migrant Workers section on its Risk Manager website, outlining some of the issues facing immigrant workers.

Norwich Union's casualty risk manager Phil Grace said: "The employment of foreign workers is not something to be undertaken without full consideration of the possible additional risks involved. Migrant workers are at an automatic disadvantage because of language and cultural barriers.

"Foreign workers employed in the UK enjoy the same protection as UK workers and have the same rights and responsibilities. So, risk assessments and the resulting actions must take the different languages and cultures of these new workers into account."

Among the factors that employers should take into consideration are the language of safety briefings, training videos and lectures, he said.

Employers also need to consider the language of warning signage, which should ideally be in workers' native languages.



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