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Steelworkers’ trade union raises public safety concerns over key worker definitions

Community
Community
20th March 2020

“Acknowledging steelworkers as key workers is a small step that could prevent big consequences…”

The steelworkers’ trade union Community has raised concerns about safety critical operations at integrated steelworks and called for those in essential roles to be added to the government’s list of key workers.

The Scunthorpe and Port Talbot steelworks are both Tier 1 COMAH sites, which mean they have operations using dangerous substances as well as obligations to prevent major accidents and limit the consequences of major accidents. The union argues that primary end operations – the coke ovens, blast furnaces and steelmaking – at both sites need to be properly manned to ensure the plants can run safely.

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:

“We’re calling on the government to urgently review its position. We are duty-bound in the interests of our members and the steel communities in which they live to raise concerns about potential risks to health, safety and the environment.

“Maintaining the manning levels in the primary end operations and other safety critical roles is vital at this time. Furthermore it is vital to ensure that the right skills and experience are protected to safely run down production in the worst case scenario.

“Acknowledging these steelworkers as key workers is a small step that could prevent big consequences. An industrial accident at Scunthorpe or Port Talbot could have a devastating impact on those communities.”

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