Steel cage collapse on £750m Aberdeen Western bypass stops work

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The collapse of a huge steel structure and an overturned mechanical roadworking machine has caused the £750m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) to be shut down for four days.

UCATT officials are warning such huge breaches of health and safety on such a high profile project are deeply worrying as they threaten workers’ lives. The AWPR consortium of contractors which includes three giants of the industry – Carillion, Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty – appear to have tried to hush up the incidents. The UCATT convenor on site was not informed of the accidents, with the HR department claiming this was on oversight. Scared workers brought the accidents to the attention of local media, which is now reporting that some workers have quit for fear of their lives.

Workers were quoted in the Aberdeen Press and Journal as saying:  “There are men on the site who are just disgusted and some who have left because they just don’t feel safe at work.”

And… “There are some big problems with safety, the standard of work is high but it seems they want to get the project finished so are doing things quickly rather than right.”

UCATT Regional Secretary, Steve Dillon, said: “I’m shocked, not only at the scale of the accidents but the behaviour of the contractor. This is one of the UK’s most high profile construction sites. You would imagine that not only safety would be top notch but that the behaviour of such eminent contractors would be commensurate with the prestige of the project. We want answers to not only why our members’ lives were put in jeopardy but why our convenor was kept completely in the dark. These constructors know how the industry works – and currently both health and safety, and industry protocol on the AWPR are being flaunted. This must be rectified.”

Mr Dillon added: “One of the major problems is that there is a safety committee but it not’s being used in compliance with health and safety regulation. It was not informed of these events. Therefore the committee is not carrying out its function properly – and the result is serious accidents.”