Unite, the construction industry’s main union, is advising all of its safety reps to ensure they are provided with clear evidence that any cladding at their workplace is safe.
In the absence of such evidence, they are to assume the worst and demand additional safety measures until the suspect cladding is removed.
The directive comes after the revelation that non-compliant combustible cladding was put on the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital, the construction of which has been stalled since its builder, Carillion, went out of business at the start of the year.
The union points out that this is not an isolated case from a rogue contractor. Non-complaint combustible cladding systems have been found on dozens of buildings around the country since last year’s Grenfell Tower fire triggered checks. In July it was revealed that the Papworth Hospital in Cambridge being built by Skanska had to be delayed, as its cladding did not pass safety standards.
Unite national health and safety adviser Rob Miguel said: “It is now clear that company assurances from employers and construction companies about the safety of cladding could be in question. Workers who were concerned last year will now be highly alarmed about safety at their workplace. Rather than assurances they need clear evidence that cladding is safe. Until then employers need to introduce additional safety measures.”