Unite raises concerns over HS2 safety failings

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Unite has blamed a wave of serious accidents on the HS2 tunnelling and track laying project in London, on a refusal to allow the union to speak to workers

Construction union Unite has raised safety concerns on the HS2 section being delivered by the Skanska/Costain/Strabag (SCS) joint venture.

The SCS joint venture company has refused to allow Unite to freely speak to workers during their breaks in its welfare facilities.

The latest alleged accident occurred when a worker suffered arm injuries after clay fell from height onto them, this resulted in a safety shutdown on the project.

Unite has also said that other recent accidents include, a lorry overturned into a ditch, a skill saw blade came off its mooring and shot across the site, a hammer broke a worker’s wrist and a digger bucket hit a worker’s foot.

‘Crying out for union safety reps’

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain, said: “Workers operating on the Costain/Skanska/Strabag joint venture, will be rightly worried and concerned for their safety. The fact no worker has been killed is simply a matter of luck.

“This project is crying out for union safety reps who play a unique role in protecting workers and preventing accidents.

“The fact that the site does not have safety reps is a direct result of the union-busting tactics of Costain/Skanska/Strabag.

“If HS2 and the joint venture company are serious about improving safety they need to immediately end union-busting and allow Unite to organise workers and elect safety reps.”

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