Worried Olympic Delivery Authority chiefs have commissioned a safety review of the village site which found that workers building the accommodation blocks for competitors were 66% more likely to be involved in a reportable accident.
Documents seen by construction union Ucatt state: “Following a number of serious incidents and near misses at the Athletes Village, a review was commissioned by the ODA Director of Construction to be conducted in mid-September by the ODA Head of Health and Safety.”
The report adds: “It is likely that the focus on the Village will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Accident frequency rate for the Athletes’ Village for the 12 months to September 2010 are 0.25 for every million man hours worked – or eight accidents – compared to just 0.15 or four accidents for the Olympic Park according to the report. This does not include minor accidents which are non-reportable.
Latest ODA figures show that in the final three months of 2010, the accident frequency rate at the Athletes’ Village reached 0.24 per million man hours, more than double the Olympic Park rate of 0.11.
Accidents included one where an air ambulance was called after a worker fell through a sixth floor grating to the floor below.
Another worker was hospitalised after he broke his wrist and dislocated his elbow. This incident led to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive. One ‘fall incident’ was of such concern that the ODA issued a ‘Safety Alert’ to contractors.
Lawrence Waterman, ODA’s head of health and safety, said in a statement: “We take health and safety extremely seriously on the Olympic Park and Village, which is why we have an accident frequency rate far lower than the industry average on both sites. In fact, the Village’s accident frequency rate is 65% less than the industry average.
“However, we are not complacent and constantly seeking to further minimise the risk of any incidents. We do this in partnership with the contractors and this is monitored by the regulatory bodies including the Health and Safety Executive.”
One contractor told the Enquirer: “Safety is paramount across all Olympic jobs – you only have to look at how the figures compare with the rest of the industry to see that.
“The main park has one of the best safety records in the industry and the village only suffers in comparison. But if you compare it to most sites the safety record is right up there with the best.”
Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie said: “The Olympic Park is governed by strict rules arranged between the Olympic Delivery Authority and the unions that ensure workers are employed directly and that minimum construction wage rates are guaranteed.
“The same rules do not apply to the Village, creating a more casualised labour environment which impacts safety.”