EAS Warns Eleven Agencies
EAS Warns Eleven Agencies
Eleven employment agencies have been warned by the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate (EAS) after advertising for asbestos removal workers without properly checking the health and safety implications. EAS acted swiftly after receiving intelligence from the sector that employment agencies were advertising vacancies for asbestos removal workers without having the proper Health and Safety Executive (HSE) licenses. The inspectors found that, although no workers had been placed yet, the agencies weren't taking the necessary steps to prevent risk to them. The inspectorate therefore issued warning letters.
Failure of any agency to address the non-compliance could result in criminal proceedings or a possible ban from trading of up to 10 years.
The warnings came as the campaign to raise awareness of workplace rights enforced by Government switched its focus to agency workers today. Advertisements on hoardings, buses and phone boxes will encourage agency workers to seek advice about their workplace rights and report abuses of those rights through a confidential helpline. Leaflets are also being produced for agencies to help make them aware of their legal obligations to workers.
Lord Young said: This operation shows that EAS act quickly and effectively to protect both agency workers and the public.
The Government has done a lot to improve rights at work but its also essential to make sure these rights are properly enforced. A simple system for reporting abuses and giving advice and information to employers and workers is a critical part of that.
The recession should not become an excuse to deny people their basic rights at work.
In the week of the launch of the Health and Safety Executives campaign warning tradesmen on the dangers of asbestos, Steve Coldrick, HSEs asbestos programme director said: Asbestos is a killer. It claims about 4000 lives a year − more than die in road accidents. It should be of no concern to the general public if it remains undisturbed and in good condition, but the same cannot be said for tradespeople who may come across it in their work. While they need to take responsibility for their own health and safety, it is imperative that this is matched with a commitment by their employer to do the same.
Of the twelve agencies investigated, eleven were found not to have complied fully with the requirements of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.
A total of 57 infringements of the law were identified including:
Failing to explore the health and safety implications of the advertised work with the hirer and failing to fully inform the applicant of the risks
Failing to check the identity, qualifications, experience and training of the worker they intended to supply
Failing to have authority from hirers to advertise the positions