New safety guidelines for gig workers in the UK – the Chesterfield Lead review

The EU recently tabled a regulation on (gig) workers protection which clearly indicates where rights and responsibilities fall on employers, and on individuals, if health and safety failures of sub-contractors occur.

This standard will apply to workers who receive service under contract from a company that is a member of a European social standard setting body.

It is important that regulators, politicians and others use the industrial accident in Chesterfield, Lincolnshire as a catalyst to put decent union protection and transparency at the centre of project management thinking.

Today we publish the Chesterfield Lead review, produced to understand why this disaster happened and what can be done to prevent it from ever happening again.

Our review identified three specific lessons for employers and regulators to consider as they plan the role of current and future project management practices.

The introduction of an industry standard for gig worker health and safety and measures in respect of workers’ compensation liability should not be regarded as an end to the process, but as the start of the journey.

It is encouraging to see the fact that in this instance the range of organisations involved in the project needed to take responsibility for sub-contractors is understood.

The introduction of a bigger voice for the gig worker through the establishment of a network of formal high level hubs (like the Chesterfield Hub) should be driven by users rather than the companies.

It is important that the innovative and collaborative culture that exists in the UK for gig workers is translated into the mindset of future design of project management, including by placing the primary responsibility on the employer and providing the more effective monitoring and auditing of those responsible.

Another aspect that we identified in the review was the need for a greater emphasis on SMEs (small businesses) in Gig job site selection, and the need for the international focus of major projects to be more comparable with their European counterparts.

A progressive way forward in the UK is to combine the framework set out in the law on employment rights and responsibilities with the skill-set and technological ambition of emerging digital technologies.

This approach would have widespread benefits for multiple stakeholders (including the European industry standard bodies), as well as for the UK.

Leave a Comment