Workers demanded that bosses stand trial yesterday after a safety inspection blitz revealed that over half of construction sites across Britain were dodging safety laws.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspections visited 560 building sites in a two-week investigation and found that over half were dangerous for workers.
Workers were exposed to killer silica dust and other hazardous substances that cause respiratory problems.
Conditions at 13 sites were so dangerous that work was stopped immediately, while 85 were served with enforcement notices and 201 more handed warnings.
Construction union Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy called the findings “appalling.”
“The long-term damage that workers are being exposed is a time bomb for their health,” he said.
“Employers putting workers’ health at risk should be prosecuted. There is simply no excuse, as basic safety measures can massively reduce the dangers workers face.”
Up to 1,000 workers in Britain could die every year due to exposure to silica dust according to new research by the University of Stirling.
The HSE is under fire for refusing to cut the legal limit for exposure to the dust despite its US counterpart backing the move.
A spokeswoman for the executive claimed that reducing exposure levels was not possible because it “would require complex sampling and analysis processes which have not been validated.”
But the claim is refused by Stirling academics.
And Mr Murphy said: “Silica is a proven killer. The first step in reducing deaths must be reducing exposure limits and the HSE must stop dragging its feet on this matter.”
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