Troops withdrawn from Afghanistan after failing health and safety workplace assessment

Fire wardens not wearing hi-viz jackets

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has today confirmed the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan following receipt of a highly critical health and safety workplace assessment.

‘We’d all heard the rumours that troops were being sent to the frontline without adequate equipment,’ said a spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive, ‘but if we’d known that soldiers weren’t being provided with the correct style of ergonomic chair or that the temperature in the workplace was so high, we’d have shut the place down in a jiffy. If the Ministry of Defence is serious about protecting our nation’s soldiers, then at the very least it must equip them with desk fans and remove the piles of sandbags all over their bases which are nothing but a trip hazard.’

The report by the HSE uncovered a number of examples of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan having to face unacceptable hazards at work. ‘We witnessed troops being asked to lift cases of ammunition without proper manual lifting training and others being cooped up for hours in tanks which admit barely any natural light. They even had the wrong coloured plasters in the first aid box. And coming under heavy enemy fire in an exposed area is no excuse for disregarding an employee’s statutory right to a 15-minute break every four hours.’

‘The conditions in which these servicemen and women are being asked to work flout all kinds of regulations,’ continued the HSE spokesman. ‘It boggles the mind to think that every day they work in an environment where they can’t even be sure that their remaining windows will be cleaned on a weekly basis.’

The Ministry of Defence has insisted that it is winning the war on dangers in the workplace. ‘And we’ve made real progress raising morale among our troops in Afghanistan,’ added Mr Hammond. ‘There are so many more promotion opportunities since we listened to the staff survey feedback that managers and senior leaders should make themselves much more visible in the workplace.’


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Posted: Dec 10th, 2011 by

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