Construction workers union Ucatt is calling for health and safety guidelines for extreme weather conditions.
Ucatt has written to the National House Building Council (NHBC) chief executive Mike Quinton, calling on the NHBC to introduce clear rules for construction workers operating in extreme weather.
The NHBC guidelines, which make it clear that certain materials must be protected from cold weather, should have similar guidelines for construction workers, according to the union.
Ucatt also said that a macho environment has been fostered in the construction industry, leading to those who complain about extreme conditions to be labelled as weak. “This lack of care for the construction worker is virtually institutionalised in the construction industry,” the union said in a statement.
Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye added: “The construction industry has long put profit before people. It’s a complete indictment of an industry that has temperature guidelines to safeguard materials but none whatsoever for the workers. This must now change.
“We have written to the NHBC to ask them to inject some humanity into the industry and provide clear temperature and extreme weather guidelines for constructors to apply to workers. In an age when we no longer send young children up chimneys to clean them, we should equally not be forcing construction workers to work in inhuman conditions.”
There is currently no legal minimum or maximum temperature for working outside in the UK.
Unions are currently negotiating to have rules or guidance on working in extreme weather included in the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) agreement, the largest agreement covering construction workers.