Construction union UCATT is urging workers to refuse to place themselves in potentially dangerous situations after two workers were injured – one of them fatally – in separate incidents on the same site on Tuesday this week.
The first incident at the site in Heaton Norris, Stockport, occurred on Tuesday morning when a worker fell through the roof of an industrial unit that was being demolished. He was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.
However later that afternoon paramedics were called to the same site after another worker fell through the same roof. He was also taken to hospital but later died from his injuries.
UCATT claims many self-employed workers are particularly reluctant to refuse to work in dangerous conditions because they fear they may be dismissed.
It also says a macho culture in the industry, where workers may feel embarrassed refusing when surrounded by their peers, is partly to blame in an industry which saw 39 deaths in 2012/13, 60% of which were falls from height.
UCATT’s regional secretary for the North West Region Andy Fisher said: “This is a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the loved ones of the worker who has died.”
He added: “Workers who are concerned that they are being placed in a dangerous situation have the right to refuse work. The challenge is to give workers the confidence to be able to refuse to place themselves in danger.”
He said anyone concerned that they are being placed in a dangerous situation should contact the union.