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The implication of migration for health and safety Dr Sonia McKay.

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1 The implication of migration for health and safety Dr Sonia McKay

2 Background  Large numbers of migrant workers, notably from A8, dispersing further across regions of UK  More employers ranging from large national companies to SMEs taking on diverse workforces  Evolving recruitment routes of temporary workers, in particular through agencies and labour providers of varying types  Headline incidents such as Morecambe Bay combined with anecdotal information from HSE inspectors that migrant workers at risk  However, Issue of measuring impact of work on health more generally missing

3 The research  Two projects  Migrant workers in England and Wales – an assessment of their health and safety risks  One death is too many – Enquiry into fatalities in the construction industry.  Establish whether there are specific or general risks that affect migrant workers  Assess whether the situation of migrant workers places them at increased risk, compared with other workers in similar positions  Examine fatalities in one sector

4 Definitions and Methodology  Migrant workers = people who have come to UK with last five years to find work, whether temporary or permanent, and irrespective of whether documented or undocumented  Focus on workers in routine manual occupations in six sectors  Construction; Agriculture; Food processing, packaging and distribution  Health and social care; Cleaning; Hospitality  A. Qualitative research - interviews with 200 migrants, 60+ employers, 30+ key respondents from five regions of England and Wales  B. Analysis of 28 fatalities in a three year period through HFACS (Human factors analysis and classification system: mapping predominant causes to direct or underlying organisational, policy and external ‘levels’ to enable comparison

5 Health and Safety Statistics and Reports  Statutory reporting systems for measuring fatalities, accidents, injuries and ill health did not include information that allows for identification of migrants  Available statistics indicate that higher risk to self-employed and contract workers than direct employees  Comparative analysis with LFS and field experience suggests that there is considerable under-reporting – as little as only 5% reported

6 Migrant Worker Terms and Conditions  Typically minimum wage in low skilled jobs with few benefits; relatively highly educated and skilled for the tasks.  Often working long hours and anti-social shifts, meeting demand for cheap, flexible labour that the local labour market cannot fill for various reasons. Some working more than one job.  Many engaged through agencies and labour providers, some recruited in home countries. Frequent complaints about lack of information, irregular hours, unclear deductions and other problems with agencies.  Undocumented workers especially vulnerable to exploitation due to limited rights and lack of support.  Few members of trade unions or other forms of collective representation. Many unaware or uncertain of their rights and the responsibilities of their employers.

7 Sector Characteristics 1  Construction: Highly fragmented – many sub-contractors and large informal sector. Uses mobile ‘self-employed’ workers. Migrants filling gaps in skilled trades as well as general labourers.  Food: Production growth and seasonal and promotion orders from supermarkets have driven demand for flexible workforce on shift-work. Very low paid for employment in basic operative tasks.  Agriculture: Overall decline in sector but continued need for seasonal labour with greater flexibility to meet supplier and supermarket demands

8 Sector Characteristics 2  Cleaning: Service industry with highly competitive contracts and demand for cheap labour moving between different sites and working hours outside the normal day.  Care work: NHS and care home demand for nursing and care staff resulted in direct recruitment from overseas. Private sector taken on over-qualified nurses for basic care assistant work in night shifts.  Hospitality: Large amount of temporary, casual and seasonal work in restaurants and hotels, also large informal economy.

9 Common Trends in Sectors  Highly competitive contracting processes  Growth in use of temporary agency workers  Need for flexible/mobile workforce in routine occupations  Anti-social shift patterns  Intersections with informal economy  Unclear lines of responsibility for site conditions

10 Fatalities study  In 2007/08 12 migrant/foreign workers killed in construction, increase from 8 the previous year.  Is there a greater risk?  Do the numbers merely reflect higher % of migrant workers in the sector  Impact of age –youth/older on fatalities

11 Findings on H&S  Around a quarter of the migrant workers had personally experienced or witnessed an accident at work.  Reported problems included repetitive strain injuries, back problems, general fatigue and tiredness from anti-social shifts and long hours, stress caused by managers and co-workers.  Induction training and communication on health and safety was often limited or even non-existent. Lack of understanding due to language and/or cultural differences was often not checked for.  Personal protective equipment was sometimes not provided adequately and/or not used appropriately.  Manual handling equipment and training, rotation of tasks, provision of occupational health checks was inadequate in some sites  Widespread lack of knowledge of health and safety and of workplace rights

12 Contributing Risk Factors 1  Jobs generally not more risky as such, but migrant workers more likely to be in positions where inherent risks.  Relatively short periods of work in the UK contribute to limited knowledge of the health and safety system and its differences from workplace practices in home countries  Motivations in coming to the UK, often premised on earning as much as possible, result in a willingness to take on long hours and irregular shifts in any available work  Communication difficulties with co-workers and supervisors due to a lack of English or other common language, leading to lack of understanding of instructions and potential risks  Inadequate employer procedures for checking on skills and abilities and ensuring access to and understanding of health and safety inductions and on-going training

13 Contributing Risk Factors 2  Unclear H&S responsibilities and gaps in procedures between different employers, in particular where temporary agency workers and/or are nominally self-employed  Lack of knowledge of health and safety rights and absence of worker representatives, resulting in inability to raise concerns and fear of negative ramifications from employers  Experiences of discrimination and racism by BAME workers in particular causing stress – favouritism contributing to greater exposure to more difficult work conditions  Women with little information or support when pregnant or looking after children  Undocumented workers vulnerable to exploitation

14 Concluding Remarks  Evidence that migrant workers carrying out a lot of the demanding, dangerous and/or dirty manual work in the UK  Whether patterns of long/irregular hours, anti-social shifts, workplace stress etc lead to greater H&S risks is still open to debate – quantitative relationships unproven but qualitative evidence mounting  Suggestion that accidents and incidents may increase due to migrant workers, but alternate explanations are that  Growth of temporary, agency, casual, ‘self-employed’ and other forms of ‘precarious’ work relationships may complicate responsibility for H&S  Decrease in HSE regulatory activities in favour of business support role may deflect resources and action

15 Fatalities  In 2007/08 12 migrant/foreign workers killed in construction, increase from 8 the previous year.  Is there a greater risk?  Do the numbers reflect higher % of migrant workers in the sector  Impact of age –youth/older on fatalities

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