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Safety advice for migrant workers - 05-06-2007
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is joining forces with Tayside Fire and Rescue Service , Hillcrest Housing Association and other local organisations to highlight to seasonal migrant workers in Scotland the help and advice available to them on safety and legal issues affecting their accommodation and other rights.

The move follows a recent fire at a caravan site housing migrant farm workers near Arbroath in which a worker from the Czech Republic died and another was seriously injured.

HSE Inspector Peter Dodd said:

"This tragic fire highlighted the dangers that migrant workers' accommodation can pose if some basic precautions are not taken, as well as the need for workers with often a limited knowledge of English to be provided with help and advice in their own language.

The HSE will be producing health and safety information in a number of Eastern European languages.

"We know that caravans and other types of accommodation have and continue to be used to house seasonal workers, often on farms where migrants provide a valuable labour force. The recent fire highlighted the fact that some farmers are diversifying by providing accommodation for migrants who work elsewhere.

"Anyone who is staying in such accommodation should speak to the owner or manager if they are concerned about safety and find out what precautions have been taken.

"The HSE's help and advice is available to those providing accommodation as well as to the migrants, and we would ask anyone who is providing accommodation of this kind to take some time to consider if they have done all they can to make it safe. We would much rather a farmer asks now than have to investigate a similar tragedy again.

"Local councils, fire brigades and the police can also give advice on the standards that should be adopted by those providing accommodation.

"In addition, we would encourage farmers who employ seasonal migrant labour to consider using workers provided through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme or programmes such as the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs Seasonal Workers Programme, which include standards to be met by the accommodation provided."

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