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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.

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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