Crossrail managers face ‘spying and fear’ claims

Aaron Morby 5 years ago
Share

Construction unions are calling for Crossrail and its main contractors to take action after a leaked safety report revealed a “culture of spying and fear” leaving workers afraid to report accidents.

Construction Union UCATT is calling for an urgent meeting after a leaked independent report revealed excessive man-marking by Crossrail managers was pushing relations with contractors to the limit.

The damning report was produced by consultants MindSafety for the BBMV joint venture digging tunnels at Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Station.

The report produced 12 months ago was leaked to the Observer this weekend, which reported a culture of secret photographing and videoing of incidents as they unfolded had done more to damage morale and client perception than anything else.

It said: “The intention of the client 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.”

A spokesman for Crossrail defended its methods on site. He said: “Crossrail refutes this inaccurate description and has enjoyed a good working relationship with BBMV throughout. Crossrail’s safety record is better than the UK construction average.”

But Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “This is a devastating report, which shows the appalling state of industrial relations at Crossrail.

“This is clearly having a massive impact on safety and is placing workers in danger.

“Crossrail and its major contractors need to provide urgent answers about how this climate of fear has arisen. The client and the contractors need to sit down with UCATT in order to ensure that morale and confidence is restored on the project to improve safety.”

Safety concerns on Crossrail have increased following the death of Rene Tkacik on the project last month.

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.

The union said the accident rate on Crossrail is over four times the accident rate on the Olympic Park which was 0.11 accidents for every 100,000 hours worked when that project was at its peak.

Murphy added: “The most disturbing part of the report is that it describes how workers are fearful of reporting accidents because they believe that if they do so they will be laid off.”

Steve Hails, Crossrail Health and Safety Director said: “Crossrail has a good safety record and sets the most stringent contractor safety requirements in the industry.

“We require all our contractors to put in place honest and open reporting of all incidents however minor. Contractors are also evaluated on their workforce engagement. We’re determined to drive up standards for the whole industry.

“Crossrail has worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive since the earliest stages of the project with dedicated HSE inspectors allocated to undertake regular inspections of Crossrail contractor sites.

“By pioneering new ways of approaching health and safety we want to leave a legacy that will help to make the construction industry safer, long after Crossrail is complete.”

 

Latest news

More contractors suspended from Prompt Payment Code

Galliford Try, Ferrovial and Alun Griffiths among firms not paying on time
2 hours ago

Lendlease names new London construction chief

Claire Pettett has over 11 years experience at Lendlease mostly on the finance side
3 hours ago

Construction restructure costs Galliford Try £10m

Average group net debt rises to £187m after year of writedowns
7 hours ago

Six climate activists arrested at concrete plant

Police chief warns construction companies they will be targeted during week of action
8 hours ago

Civils and concrete specialist OHOB delivers £27m profit

O’Halloran & O’Brien builds revenue to £300m after expanding from south east base into the Midlands
8 hours ago

Worker killed on Asda extension site

Victim "hit by digger bucket" in site tragedy
17 hours ago

Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

New office block in shopping centre will cost over £50m to build
7 hours ago

£17m Blackpool hotel project out to bid

Muse invited bids for Talbot Gateway scheme Holiday Inn
9 hours ago

Countryside wins £400m London Camden Lock estate rebuilds

Work could start on 700-home estate rebuild late next year
1 day ago

Contractor fined for ignoring site welfare order

Manchester firm failed to provide decent facilities for workers
9 hours ago

Murphy suffers £5.8m loss

Revenue up 4.4% to £781m driven by transport and power projects
1 day ago

London Mayor uproots Tulip Tower plan

Sadiq Khan blocks 305m skyscraper plan despite city planners' approval
2 days ago

Third Van Elle board director exits

John Foster, group commercial director, departs six months after joining piling specialist
1 day ago

Hunt starts for partner to deliver £1.5bn Wales schools plan

Welsh Government is looking for partner for new public private schools delivery model
1 day ago

HS2 unveils plans for “people mover” on new viaduct

2.3km route will transport people to Birmingham Airport
1 day ago

Manager merry-go-round causing mayhem for contractors

Construction bosses walk-in to new jobs no matter how poor their track record is
1 day ago

Contractor hunt starts for new £1.7bn Stonehenge route

Highways England hopes to attract bids from "some of the world’s best construction companies"
2 days ago

29 arrests in immigration raid on BAM King’s Cross site

Illegal Albanian, Indian and Lithuanian workers detained during swoop on flagship London job
2 days ago

Call to delay VAT changes as chaos looms for contractors

Industry leaders demand six month delay to October deadline as contractors unaware of tax changes
3 days ago

Hull contractor C Spencer back in profit

Specialist records £1.8m profit after revenue cut to £54m in year of consolidation
2 days ago

ISG wins £23m Cardiff Uni science building

Six-storey maths and computer block will be built on the Cathays campus
2 days ago

Local civils firm lands £17m London Airport job

East London civils contractor Kilnbridge wins biggest contract this year
5 days ago

Tolent starts £34m Leeds rental flats job

12-storey block is being built for Grainger as part of the Holbeck Urban Village
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
1 year ago

Foundations specialist Aspin goes into administration

All staff sent home as ground engineering firm goes under
6 days ago

HPL cladding to be stripped from Oxford tower block

Housing associations and councils are now planning to remove HPL cladding following new Government guidance
5 days ago

HS2 forced to rebid £435m Curzon Street station

Poor interest from contractors forces risk transfer rethink
6 days ago

Mott MacDonald names new UK and Europe chief

Cathy Travers will be in charge of 7,500 staff generating £824m revenue
5 days ago

Galliford Try Infrastructure chief exits

Nick Salt leaves as construction chief Bill Hocking takes over infrastructure
5 days ago

Interserve appoints Alan Lovell as new chairman

Industry veteran pledges to help "continue delivering Interserve’s transformation"
5 days ago

Contractor services