Employment Status Leading to Lack of Health & Safety Awareness20 Apr 2018, by First Aid Training News, IOSH Training News in
Temporary and part-time employees, contractors and freelancers are not being treated the same way as full-time permanent employees in the United Kingdom. While it is obvious that fulltime and permanent employees will receive more privileges and benefits and they definitely enjoy better job security, the mistreatment or neglect in terms of health and safety demands immediate attention. A recent survey suggests that temps and contractors in the gig economy are not being taken care of, that employers are not too conscious or concerned about the health and safety of part-time employees and freelancers.
The labour market in the UK has undergone substantial changes in the twenty-first century. Around 36% of all people employed in the country are in part-time or temporary employment. That is well over a third of the total workforce in Britain. The gig economy has played a pivotal part in ensuring the United Kingdom remains a competitive market with efficient but cost-effective labours. However, the companies have gone beyond saving on benefits and other privileges and have started ignoring the health and safety concerns of temporary and part-time employees.
CEO of Royal Society Arts, Matthew Taylor conducted a survey where it was found that a substantial section of part-time and temporary employees are being treated as second-class citizens at their workplaces. The findings of the study conducted by Matthew Taylor had been published and shared with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. The body had responded to the survey and had commissioned Opinium, a market research firm, to investigate if the concerns revealed in the findings are genuine and as severe or widespread as the report indicated.
Opinium conducted its own survey and asked specific questions to around a hundred business leaders and around five hundred workers across the country that are employed in the gig economy. Many reported that they do not have any formal health and safety training. The temps also reported that they are mistreated or dealt with more severely when they fall sick. Opinium found that there is a substantial difference in the perceptions of such employers and employees. While employers think they do not discriminate against part-time or temporary employees, the latter clearly feel that the level of focus and care that full-time employees and permanent staffs receive are not available for them.
Opinium found in its survey that 77% of employers interviewed felt that all their workers were cared for equally and treated in the same manner but only 62% of temporary or part-time employees felt the same way. Some temporary workers said that not all companies are equally negligent. A few companies do take care of their temporary employees but there are many organizations that are not particularly concerned. Some employees who were interviewed have said that they were made to work even when they were sick and if they had taken time off then there was no further work available after they were fit to resume.
There are multiple implications of the scenario and some are extremely serious. Falling sick, overworking or unavailability of certain benefits, are one adverse aspect of lack of health and safety awareness. The other aspect is the possibility of injury in the workplace. There are many industries where temporary workers are exposed to heavy machinery and they are even required to handle equipment that can pose a serious threat to their health and safety unless they are well trained. Health and safety awareness is not just a humanitarian or moral issue but also a highly technical subject. People without enough health and safety training being assigned jobs that put them at risk or deliberately make them vulnerable can be injured at their workplace. Since temporary workers do not have most of the benefits granted to permanent workers, they may have to face unbearable consequences of an untoward incident.
According to the survey conducted by Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, 47% of chief executives and business owners said they offered health and safety training to all their workers. Only 33% of all temporary and part-time workers reported having received such training. Even if we accept these statistics with a significant margin of error, there are tens of thousands of people out there working without adequate training, risking their health and safety. 33% of all employers interviewed said they provided health-related privileges such as gym memberships to their temporary workers but only 11% of part-time and nonpermanent employees reported having access to such facilities.
This is where companies like Pro Trainers UK become quintessentially relevant. It is unwise and outright dangerous to have any worker get on the field and perform their duties without the minimum health and safety training. Ideally, the training should be comprehensive. All employees should have equal access to facilities or resources pertaining to their health and safety.