Sep 242018

By Suzanne Kelly.

While the Spanish construction giant may be shelling out pennies to local groups, its workers have come forward with yet more alarming footage, photos and tales of safety regulations flaunted.
A further worker has come forward to say they were dismissed after wanting to register an incident in the accident log.

Aberdeen Voice has seen images of the injury to the employee who had a cut and bruise at least 8” in diameter they say they got on site.

One worker from the site said:

“It’s usual they get away with murder. Majority of workers are agency so they’re scared to say anything and I don’t blame them as that’s exactly what happened with me. I report accident and was sacked .”

The ex-employee’s word is more than supported by copious quantities of video and photographs from diverse sources. These show site operations such as scaffolding work, scaffolding erection and working in enclosed spaces being carried out with scant – if any – regard for safety.

These images cannot be shared without compromising the anonymity of those who witnesses incidents such as people in enclosed spaces with no means of exit in case of a problem, scaffolding poorly constructed, people working at height without harnesses or safety railings in place, loose and rusted scaffolding.

A scaffolding platform is seen to bend when stood on in one video. Another video shows workers inside a pit they are lining with oil. The risk of slips is evident; there is no visible means of them leaving – or as one said in the video:

“How the f*ck are we supposed to get out?”

Aberdeen Voice told the HSE’s press arm there were serious safety concerns about work in progress; we were told to go through standard form-filling channels.

This is hardly possible not having access to required data as well as our need to keep sources confidential.

Workers on site who are involved are reluctant to approach the HSE for fear of losing their current job and of future blacklisting.

We consulted an experienced safety rep who has years of field work who, after watching some of our footage, responded:

  “…they should be reviewing their working practices”

Our safety expert says they have seen much worse on some sites. Then again, this is a flagship Scottish Government project that is costing the taxpayer millions: safety should be paramount, and perhaps the government should lead by example on their projects.

With regard to the pit being sprayed with oil, we showed our expert footage where a ladder was visible; there was later footage with no means of escape from the pit.

Our Safety rep said:

“The application of whatever it is should be done from elevated position. Again it’s not clear if there’s anyone supervising the task and any work done in a confined space should be done with adequate supervision.”

With regard to some of the scaffolding photos, a safety representative we consulted said:

“The platform in the last picture doesn’t look to be in good condition. You can see rust around the welded joints and the strap* would indicate that the bar in middle is not secure.”

 A man broke his leg on site last December. A further man said he was told not to complain about scaffolding concerns and just get on with it. One person who was let go earlier this year said they felt they were dismissed for airing a number of safety and environmental concerns.

When numerous safety issues are allowed to go unchecked, where there is a culture of secrecy (‘don’t talk to the press or to anyone about your work’) and where accidents are not being logged, there is a high potential for the probability of a serious injury.

Let’s hope Dragados are taking things more seriously than they seem to be, and that some of the HSE visits will have had some impact (though workers say that HSE advice eg on scaffolding was ignored as soon as the HSE rep left the site).

Dragados had been approached to comment on the fact we had been given material showing unsafe practices; they declined to respond.

Two of those we spoke to who had been on site said they would not be surprised if a serious accident happened.

It is understood some senior staff have left the project, and that things like toolbox talks before operations are not routinely happening. Or to sum up, as one source told Aberdeen Voice:

“It’s a complete joke.”

* A different person says this is not a strap but a piece of frost blanket used to mitigate a concrete problem.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

  7 Responses to “Dragados: More Safety Concerns Emerge”

  1. This is load of bullsheet. Get a grip! I have joined DUK in the last 3 months and the level of H&S you would expect on a construction site was one of the best in my years of experience.

    • Suzanne says: I don’t know what you expect, but a 100% accident free situation is what most shoot for. Your 3 months excluded the serious leg injury in December, and many have a different view to yours.

  2. Another amazing story by Ms Kelly. Where are all those pictures and videos you talk about? Is there ever any evidence of all the things you say in your articles, other than imaginary whistleblowers?
    I think you are actually quite dangerous for journalism.

    • Suzanne says: thanks for your comment. There is plenty of evidence seen by us, and Dragados knows it to be true. But at present we take more care in protecting our sources imo than seemingly Dragados takes protecting workers. Do tell us what specifically you doubt. Dragados has not been in touch to dispute a single word.

  3. Excellent report! – Since the beginning, I have been concerned that this is yet another project where the people of Aberdeen are being sold a very smelly pup, whose benefits and effects will be very different to those claimed for it.

    • Suzanne says: Thank you for the comment. The fact two people were recently injured while working on the caissons for the Harbour project should be cause for Dragados to immediately step up their safety. I remain fearful for peoples’ and wildlife’s safety and with good reason.

  4. I worked for them and dean keans reply was very much a new employee rant at 23.41 clearly had a few shandy’s trying to make himself look good to his new employers. The place was a complete shambles. I witnessed very serious racism against foreign workers, a couple of managers who hadn’t a clue, but swiped everyone who was a threat to them including accidents being brushed away. I heard daily a manger going to meetings and coming back calling the higher management for everything under the sun then when the arrived on site he was there best pal. Confidentiality well non existent. Management bullying worker tried it with me 1 week well put in there place tried to say this and that and with my experience absolutely rattled him for six. He never knew my back ground he thought I was a agency worker tried his best then found out I was very well known in my profession including with the hse. He knew he wasn’t a match and I rose from that. Middle management were a problem on that site ie site agents who knew nothing a guy who spent years on a submarine trying to take charge it was laughable and it’s little wonder the gate closed. The middle management always tried to under mime the Spanish management and then walked about the site all day to the dead wood as I called them calling them for everything then in turn the dead wood would carry this on making the top boys look stupid again. The problem was the middle management DIDNT know what they were doing then passing orders onto guys who were clueless to the operations vehicle Marshall’s getting made to be experienced ground worker whilst all the good guy and there was many got shown the door because they showed the middle management up as they had the knowledge. I could name a few so dean were are you now as you weren’t there when I was there so you three months was well noted a bet you regret now putting your name to this post. The middle management talked a good job and with the language barrier the higher management didn’t know any better. I sussed it the first few days I was there. I had my ear to the ground I knew before taking the job who the fly by nights were and who was milking dragados and it wasn’t all Spanish guys as they would let you know to make them self look very important king rats. What we left with now in Aberdeen the harbour board 350mil out of pocket all blamed on the covid-19 that’s bullshit the place sunk well before that when it was announced the north break water had to be dug back up yes people dig back up. Again traffic Marshall’s doing the ground works and all the wrong materials being used. Why did the middle management not stop this eh eh because they were cluesless.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>