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June 29, 2008

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HSE to carry out checks on migrant workers in Cambridgeshire

The HSE has announced a series of spot checks on premises in Cambridgeshire employing migrant workers supplied by agencies to ensure that they are not at risk through inadequate training.

HSE inspectors and environmental health officers will contact employment agencies in the first instance to determine how they manage the health and safety of migrant workers, and to find out about the types of premises in which the workers are placed.

The East of England region is second only to London in terms of the number of workers it has received from the expanded European Union. The region’s development agency the EEDA has estimated that migrants bring £360 million to the local economy, and that most are employed in the food, agriculture, construction, catering, cleaning and manufacturing industries.

The typical risks such workers face include lack of understanding of safety information, lack of instruction or training, and poor supervision.

Said David Head, principal HSE inspector for Cambridgeshire: “Employment agencies should be made aware that [we] are undertaking these checks throughout July and will follow up visits to the premises where migrant workers are placed. Where these visits identify problems, inspectors may revisit the agencies to resolve these issues and take enforcement action, if necessary.”

HSE guidance on managing the health and safety of agency workers, aimed at both managers in employment agencies, and in firms using agency labour, is available from the link below.

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