Don Miguel Rojo, I want to talk to you.
Don Miguel, I hear you’re hiring on men.
Well, I might just be available.
I gotta tell you before you hire me…
I don’t work cheap.
[A Fistful of Dollars]
But trainees do.
So cheap that they don’t have to wear hard hats on a construction site, or the scaffolding they are working on doesn’t need to be netted.
These are government trainees working on a government site, a hospital in fact.
It’s OK, because anyone working around the bottom does wear a hard hat.
The Government can confirm that all Gibraltar Training Centre employees and trainees are provided with the necessary Personal Protective clothing and equipment to satisfy the requirements of the Factories Act. As a training provider, the Centre ensures that all its employees fully comply with current and local Health and Safety Regulations by undertaking an induction period at inception stage and also undertake an independent Health and Safety test in accordance with the guidelines set out by the UK Main Awarding Body.
Moreover, trainees undertaking periods of on-site attachment are inducted on site to familiarise themselves with the site orientation, nature of development works and are instructed to follow the policies set by the Main Contractor. The GHA Project Manager responsible for the KGV refurbishment works carried out a risk assessment and its findings were that there was no need to use debris netting on this particular project. Scaffolding has been predominantly erected as a means of access to assist painters and decorators who are exclusively making use of it to decorate the main facade of the KGV Building. It is therefore not a requirement to include netting as there is no risk of falling debris, objects or heavy tools/equipment. The painting and decorating trainees are working at different heights along the platforms and are protected by overhead scaffold boards and consequently there is no need for the use of safety helmets either.
However, plasterers and bricklayers working around the site in open spaces hacking and making good wall defects at ground floor level are permanently using safety helmets. The Government in general and the Construction Training Centre in particular take this opportunity to reassure the public that it is fully committed to provide a high quality comprehensive range of learning opportunities relevant to the construction and built environment to assist the young generation and raise local standards. Furthermore, there have been no reports for many years of any incidents or near misses on the building sites where trainees have been working.
So, for starters. Scaffold clips? Scaffold tubes? Hit any of those with your head? Poke your eyes out? Anyone who has actually been on scaffolding will know what it is like – and it is very, very easy to bash your head. Or your face.
We don’t need netting because
it is too expensive no-one is working above. Really? So there is absolutely no risk of anything falling onto anyone? From anywhere? No decorators using tools?
I wonder if they are wearing hi-vis jackets? Safety boots?
How many sites do you see around Gib that have signs saying?:
No hard hat.
No safety boots.
Gib government – what are you talking about, seriously?
Twenty years ago as a press officer I wore a hard hat when I went on construction sites. These trainees are not just visiting, they are meant to be working on a site.
This is an appalling way to train young people in a trade – ostensibly – for life.
As for the reference to the Factories Act? This is not the nineteenth century – first factory act in the UK passed in 1802. The UK has specific construction site inspectors within the Health and Safety Executive. Factories are not construction sites.
And – I have read the Gib Government Factories Act – 1956. This is a construction site.
There is an awful lot about colour-washing walls in factories – of which we have a lot in Gibraltar in 2012, 56 years later no less – and matches, and steam boilers, and laundries, and steam pressure, and asbestos and, where is the bit that says you need to wear safety clothing on a construction site in 2012?
We have a new socialist government looking after workers. Or do we?
Here is good scaffolding with good practice being carried out by the workers on site.
Gib Government –
1) You still need to change your press releases, and
2) You may wish to wander around a building site.
Here is Joe Cocker, from Sheffield, Yorkshire, who sang “Leave Your Hat On,” in the 1986 Adrian Lyne film 9½ Weeks during the striptease scene. It was later sung by Tom Jones on the Full Monty. Written by Randy Newman incidentally.