The vast majority of construction workers have carried on working despite being ill or injured to the extent that they know they could not carry out their duties effectively or complete work to a high enough standard, a recent survey has found.
Some 90 per cent of Britain’s construction workers admitted going to work in a poor state to discharge their responsibilities at one time or another. Almost half (47 per cent) of those polled said that they worked freelance or as a contractor, and that they were not entitled to pay from their employer if they were ill or injured. Financial pressures and responsibilities meant that they simply chose to work through their illness, despite the risks of doing so. Another 21 per cent of those surveyed said they were uncertain of the rules around sick pay.
Whilst financial pressure was the number one reason given by contractors going to work ill or injured, the survey uncovers some of the other factors that make construction industry workers attend their jobs even when they are not fit to do so. Over half (53 per cent) said they were concerned they would lose their job if they took time off, and 21 per cent said they did not want younger colleagues thinking they were getting too old for the job.
Lyndon Wood, the CEO of constructaquote.com, which commissioned the survey, commented, “It’s extremely worrying to see the results of this study. Not only are those willing to work when ill clearly anxious about keeping their jobs and worried about potential replacement, they also make sure their families don’t suffer as a result of their personal situation. Perhaps these results indicate that more needs to be done when it comes to helping hardworking individuals feel secure in their employment after years of dedicated service to a particular industry.”
Diane Parker, head of personal injury, said: “Regardless of whether the person is working freelance or as a contractor, the owner of the site is legally bound to provide a safe working environment and ensure safe systems of work are in place. If an injury is suffered as a result of their disregard for safety, then those injured are entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.”
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