Construction workers urged not to risk health due to dusk mask shortage
- Monday 29 June 2020
Unite, the UK’s construction union, is urging workers not to risk their health if they are not supplied with the correct PPE.
The union’s warning follows the revelation that many contractors are struggling to purchase the appropriate dusk masks. The shortage is understood to be a result of the vastly increased demand for face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unite national officer Jerry Swain said: “Workers must not place their health at risk.
“If PPE is required and the correct masks are not available then work has to be delayed until they can be sourced. Workers must not feel pressurised into taking shortcuts with their safety.
“If a worker is at all uncertain about whether they require PPE they must request to see an appropriate risk assessment. If they still believe it is unsafe, an employee legally has a right to remove themselves from a dangerous situation.
“Unite will fully support a member who declines to work due to safety concerns.
“Clearly most responsible employers will follow the rules and reschedule work but there remains too many rogue employers who are willing to risk the health of their workers.
“It is all too easy to forget because of the pandemic that there are many reasons why an appropriate mask may be required while undertaking construction work other than preventing the spread of Covid-19.
“Even when you are socially distancing you may still need to wear a mask because of the dangerous nature of the work being undertaken.”
Notes to editors:
Unite has developed an online register so that members who are exposed to silica dust can record their exposure and then if they suffer health problems in the future it is easier to trace where the damage was caused.
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.