In industrial terms there can have been few if any more shocking revelations in recent years than the exposure of ‘The Consulting Association’. This was a conglomerate of construction companies, including some of the largest and most high profile in the UK which prepared and shared a database recording details of individual contractors and workers who were blacklisted as ‘troublemakers’ for reasons such as being members of trade unions or those who made Health & Safety related complaints.
The employers could check the database to see if potential employees were registered and if so they might refuse them employment or work.
This constituted a flagrant severe breach of Data Protection until the operation was exposed by the Information Commission.
The eight major constructions companies, namely: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCE had all been involved in the scheme and have publically apologised for their involvement with the TCA and the impact its database has had on any individual construction worker. They have joined together to create The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme with the stated purpose of facilitating claims and provision of compensation for individual workers who have been affected by ‘The Consulting Association’ and its database.
The very existence of ‘The Consulting Association’ and its database is indicative of the disregard of the importance of Health and Safety of its workers so often witnessed within the construction industry. The refusal of employment to those people deemed ‘troublemakers’ without a right of reply is appalling in the extreme.
It can only be hoped that the exposure of the ‘The Consulting Association’ and its database and the introduction of The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme will go some way to redressing the injustice and losses suffered by those so badly wronged.
Regardless, it is clear that much more needs to be done to improve health and safety and attitudes to such within the construction industry as a whole.
We at Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd have a wealth of experience in serious injury claims. Gary Boyd, Partner in the practice, qualified as a Quantity Surveyor before becoming a Solicitor and worked in/studied construction for 7 years. Gary is an expert in claims arising out of accidents on building sites.