Building Council washes hands of responsibility for frozen workers


The National House Building Council has washed it hands of any responsibility for ensuring that workers on housing projects are protected in extreme weather.


Construction union UCATT recently wrote to Mike Quinton the Chief Executive of the NHBC requesting his organisation introduce the same rules for workers that already exist for construction products. Under NHBC rules mortar and cement cannot be used in temperatures below 2 degrees centigrade but the same principles do not apply to the workers building the homes.


In his reply to UCATT, Mr Quinton, said that the NHBC is a “standards setting body and warranty provide.”


He then adds: “NHBC cannot influence the terms under which workers or contractors are employed. Based on our experience many employers and self-employed workers will make their own determination about the conditions they or their staff are prepared to work in.”


UCATT’s purpose in contacting the NHBC to issue clear rules for workers on properties where they issue a warranty, is because there are no existing laws regarding the temperature that workers operating outdoors should and should not work.


Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary of UCATT, said; “The NHBC have washed their hands of the problem. Workers face the continued misery of being forced to work in extreme weather conditions because powerful organisations decide to look the other way.”


Experts have predicted that this winter is expected to be far harsher than previous years and therefore the lack of laws and regulations governing when workers should be protected from the elements is a major issue.


Mr Rye added: “The NHBC cannot escape from the fact that they have clear rules on not using construction materials in cold weather but provide no such protection for workers.”

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