Olympic workers urged to join safety protest

Grant Prior 13 years ago
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Safety campaigners are urging London 2012 construction workers to down tools today and join a protest march to remember colleagues killed at work.

The demonstration is part of Workers Memorial Day. Leaders of the Construction Safety Campaign are calling on Olympic workers to join a short protest march from Pudding Mill Lane in Stratford planned from 11.30 this morning.

Workers will march to the neighbouring Westfield site where a commemorative event will be held in honour of Shaun Scurry, 39, from Kirkby who died in December 2009 during construction work on the shopping centre.

Henry Sheridan, 58, from Luton, was killed in December 2008 when an excavator bucket fell on him while working on the Olympic rail extension at West Ham.

The march has puzzled Olympic leaders who are holding their own events to mark Workers Memorial Day.

One source close to the project said: “Accident rates on Olympic Delivery Authority sites are well below the industry average and these deaths were not on ODA sites, but no-one is getting complacent.

“We are entering a crucial phase of the build so a number of safety talks will be held today and memorial events have been timed to coincide with workers’ lunch breaks.”

Tony O’Brien, National Secretary of the Construction Safety Campaign, said: “The legacy of the London Olympics must not be that of even more construction workers having lost their lives. The industry still kills far too many workers, either in incidents at work or from ill-health in later life such as lung diseases and cancers, especially cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

“There is far too much subcontracting and employment through employment agencies on the Olympics project and this raises real concerns over health and safety. The original employment agreement was meant to ensure direct employment for the majority and this should be the standard form of employment there from now on.”

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