An Olympic effort for health and safety at work

The Big Build is the first Olympic project of its kind in the world to have been completed without an accident-related fatality.

With one year to go until London 2012, we at RoSPA are delighted to congratulate all those who have worked on the Olympic Park and Village “Big Build” construction project for their outstanding health and safety performance.

With 12,500 workers on the Olympic Park and Athletes’ Village, and more than 60million hours worked, their safety record is particularly impressive.

Of those working hours, 24million of them have been “RIDDOR reportable accident-free”, meaning that no serious accidents, incidents or near-misses occurred.

The accident frequency rate achieved has been 0.17 accidents per million hours worked, which is lower than for the construction sector as a whole and more in line with the average across all UK employment sectors. Near-miss reporting has been equivalent to 100 reports for every RIDDOR event, giving confidence that reporting levels are very good.

RoSPA was particularly impressed with how the ODA, from its inception, declared that its aim was to be a leader in safety and health, integrating these objectives into planning, design and construction operations and enhancing workforce wellbeing. Among the features of the safety and health programme, there have been detailed inductions and further training for workers, plus leadership and communication training for supervisors.

The challenge now will be to maintain this excellent record during the next phases of the Olympics project, running up to and through “Games Time” and beyond. However, what has been achieved thus far is a highly commendable British achievement that is well worth celebrating, particularly in an international context.

Given the prestige and profile of the Big Build and the level of performance achieved, the lessons the project has generated for health and safety form an important part of the overall Olympic legacy – with enormous potential to influence health and safety in the UK as well as globally and to demonstrate further the contribution which high standards in this area make to overall business success.

The ODA and CLM have achieved an internationally-recognised certification of their health and safety management systems (OHSAS 18001) and the Olympic construction project’s occupational health function has won two awards, including the RoSPA Astor Trophy.

RoSPA is delighted that the Big Build project will be submitting an entry to the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards in 2012, through which its health and safety management systems and performance will be considered by an independent judging panel.

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA’s chief executive

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