We thought we should discuss one of the little known legacies. We all know that Health and Safety is an important consideration for the construction industry as a whole. This is particularly pertinent for our valiant FENSA fitters, out in all weathers; working at height, power tools… you know the scenarios! So what is the 2012 legacy left to the construction industry? Well, it can benefit from the health and safety strategies used in the construction of the Olympic Park.
You may be unaware that the Olympic Park was built with zero construction fatalities. Considering the size of the project, 3 million hours worked without a single reportable injury and being the largest construction site in Europe, with more than 12,000 workers, the reportable accident rate on the Olympic Park was around a third of the construction-industry average and below the national average for all workplaces. This is an amazing achievement.
It stands to reason then, that the construction industry should look to safety methods used while building the Olympic Park.
So, how did they do it?
The Olympic Park was the first construction site in the UK to have a dedicated team of health experts on site working on preventing ill health as well as accidents.
A study by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and the Health and Safety Executive found 5 important strategies that were implemented.
Lead from the top. The Olympic Delivery Authority set standards and also visibly engaged with the workforce to direct, motivate and change behaviour.
Develop competent supervisors. The positive impact of technically knowledgeable supervisors upon health and safety was understood, as well as softer communication skills to influence understanding and behaviour.
Foster an open, positive safety culture. If workers are engaged and feel managers care for their wellbeing, they’re more likely to get involved with the health and safety process.
Reward good behaviour. Incentives and rewards helped to promote and encourage safe behaviour.
Review and learn. Any problems were constantly reviewed and communicated across the organisation.
Ok, a lot of words there, but the really important aspect of these strategies showed that they were often at little cost to contractors, so a good health and safety record could be maintained throughout the build, by whatever company was involved.
There was also very encouraging evidence that workers from the Olympic Park, continued to implement the safety lessons they had learned, even after they moved to other construction projects. So these health and safety policies should filter down to our FENSA Fitters, where ever they may be working – We think this is a legacy worth having!
If you want to learn more, there is a HSE document ‘Safety Culture on the Olympic Park’ http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr942.pdf