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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 April 2014

Workplace safety: It's big business as usual

As trade unionists commemorated the workplace dead and injured on Workers' Memorial Day, 28 April, it emerged that safety on the multi-billion Crossrail project in London and the South East has been compromised by a 'culture of spying and fear'.

A leaked report, commissioned by construction bosses, found that the fear of being sacked prevented workers reporting injuries and raising other safety concerns on the job. Workplace safety was recently highlighted by the death of construction worker Rene Tkacik in a Crossrail tunnel at Holborn.

In 2013 there were a total of 39 reportable accidents on Crossrail with an accident frequency rate of 0.48 accidents for every 100,000 hours worked. By comparison, the rate on the Olympic Park was 0.11 accidents for every 100,000 hours worked.

According to the Guardian, a safety report compiled by consultant MindSafety, for the BBMV contracting joint venture, says: "The intention of the client [Crossrail] is to get the job done safely, on time and with a healthy financial position on completion.

"The reality is that the methods used on-site are almost entirely counterproductive to this. The relationship between client and contractor seems to be strained almost to breaking point.

"A common theme throughout the visit surrounded the idea that the client was 'policing' the contractor - trying to catch them out at every turn. Reports of spying and underhand tactics came flooding to us."

This admission confirms what trade union activists have long known, and was previously highlighted by the successful year-long campaign in 2013 to reinstate blacklisted Unite union steward Frank Morris, who had been unfairly sacked on Crossrail after he had raised safety concerns.

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In The Socialist 30 April 2014:


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