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HSE refutes ‘no concerns’ claim on Channel 4 News item 19/10/2015

Date:
22 October 2015

A statement made by an interviewee in Tuesday’s Channel 4 News item about living conditions for migrant workers at Nickle Farm in Kent was incorrect. www.channel4.com/news/waitrose-suspends-apple-supplier-after-migrant-worker-report 

In the item it was claimed HSE had visited the farm and found nothing wrong despite the fact pictures were shown of caravans clearly in need of improvement. 

HSE can confirm it visited the farm shown in September 2015 as part of a joint exercise with the Police, Border Force and Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA). 

During the visit HSE inspected some of the caravans shown in the programme and gave verbal advice to improve certain aspects of the facilities, including electrical safety, stability of the caravans and weather proofing. Although none of the defects noted were so severe as to warrant enforcement action, HSE brought its concerns to the company’s attention. 

In addition, the HSE inspector was not shown the group of caravans in the wooded clearing at the time of his visit, and the same inspector is now making further enquiries into this.

HSE takes the safety of migrant workers very seriously and will follow up the allegations made during the programme and take appropriate action to ensure compliance with the law. 

We are disappointed Channel 4 in this instance did not contact HSE to clarify what action was taken, and instead broadcast a misleading statement from the duty holder. 

Mike Wilcock

Head of Operations

Southern Division

Health and Safety Executive – Field Operations Directorate