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HSE UPDATE ON LONDON 2012 CONSTRUCTION SAFETY

Olympic projects ‘well managed’ despite late 2009 dip in performance

HSE has published an update on London 2012 construction project health and safety.

The report is part of a wider look at how HSE is working in support of Coalition Government statement “to ensure a safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, and urgently form plans to deliver a genuine and lasting legacy”.

Site inspections

Since 1 July 2009 a total of 20 site inspections have been undertaken. HSE report that the projects have generally been:

“well managed and inspectors have observed good practice on such matters as vehicle and pedestrian segregation, work at height and management of hand arm vibration.”

However, on a few projects risks were not as well managed as we would expect. Usually, prompt action has been taken to resolve the problem. On a few occasions it has been necessary to stop work for a longer period”

On a few occasions HSE report it was “necessary to stop work for a longer period”. In Autumn 2009 inspectors encountered:

  • poor management of large soil stockpiles that had not been engineered and were vulnerable to collapse, had no pedestrian segregation from vehicles and inadequate means of preventing vehicles from driving off the sides – the construction work in this area was stopped and a site-wide review of stockpiles carried out;
  • inadequate planning for tandem lifts by cranes at a roads and bridges projects. Two prohibition notices were served and complied with.
Dip in performance addressed

Following this late 2009 ‘dip in health and safety performance’ all parties undertook independent reviews of their plans. 

CLM doubled the size of its health, safety and environment assurance team, increased compliance reviews and the monitoring of project interfaces and site footpaths.

HSE report that “in general, inspections carried out since the turn of the year have seen significant improvements”.

Leadership

An Olympic Park Health Safety and Environment Leadership Team (SHELT) has been established to help set standards, develop strategy, motivate project teams and provide direction for campaigns and initiatives.

SHELT has driven forward: near miss reporting, Common Standards and an Olympic Park-wide commitment to adopt a safer alternative to excavator semi-automatic quick hitch systems.

Planning for safe fit-out

SHELT organised an event for around 200 directors and managers of sub-contractors who will be working on Park Venues in 2011.

The event aims were to:

  • recognise the safety challenge in this more intense phase of work;
  • encourage contractors to engage with the safety leadership team well before they start on site; and
  • convey SHELT’s commitment to the goal of an Olympic Games without a fatality during the construction phase.
Worker involvement

HSE inspectors are satisfied with arrangements made by project teams for worker involvement e.g. effective arrangements for induction, daily activity briefing, recognised safety representatives on some projects and safety committees on others.

Occupational health

The occupational health provider visit sites and provides advice, professional care and monitoring services.

Examples to date include tool box talks, providing a physiotherapy service, monitoring dust, welding fume and noise levels as well as random drug and alcohol testing. They also follow up when work occurs to check that measures intended to reduce risk have the desired effect.

Accidents and near misses

The London 2012 accident record is described as ‘good’.

There has been 35 RIDDOR-reported incidents since 1 July 2009. None required formal investigation by HSE although inspectors have discussed some internal investigations with project teams where incidents had the potential to be more serious.

HSE report that good use is being made of extensive near miss reporting to identify potential accidents and intervene to manage the risk.

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