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August 27, 2012
Safety lessons learned from Olympic OSH success

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), a global safety organization, says companies can learn a lot from the safety and health success of the Olympic building effort in London. The construction phase was completed with no fatalities.

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IOSH and the British Health and Safety Executive commissioned a university investigation into how safety techniques were communicated and other factors. Among lessons learned:

  • Lead from the top. Olympic organizers set standards and engage with the workforce to direct, motivate, and change behavior by focusing on long-term goals.
  • Develop competent supervisors. Supervisors combined technical expertise with “softer communication skills” to influence outstanding behavior.
  • Foster an open, positive safety culture. If workers are engaged and feel managers care about them, they are more likely to get involved in the OSH process.
  • Reward good behavior. Incentives and rewards helped promote and encourage safe behavior. In many cases positive feedback was the real reward.
  • Review and learn. Problems were constantly reviewed and communicated, and lessons learned helped improve health and safety.

Olympic construction officials are confident that workers’ behavior was positively influenced as a result of their Olympic involvement.

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