According to figures released by the Kiwi Labour Minister 50 people will die on Canterbury work sites over the next 6-7 years if something is not done to improve safety. The construction industry’s injury statistics are alarming which is why the Minister has stepped in. The economy will also suffer with around 600,000 hours being lost to sick leave and injury costs. The Accident Compensation Authority could end up having to fork out $80 million in pay-outs.
According to the Minister the London Olympic Games construction project was an example that should be aspired to. With a workforce of a similar size to a rebuild project ongoing in Christchurch, the London team experienced no fatalities, which is what the New Zealanders are aspiring towards. This post on the website Stuff.co.nz has more:
At the Christchurch Safe Rebuild Seminar at the Addington Events Centre yesterday, Wilkinson said New Zealand had much to learn from the health and safety example set by the London Olympic Games build project.
Kiwis were six times more likely to injure themselves at work than their British counterparts which was unacceptable, she said.
“To put it bluntly, they do health and safety better than we do in New Zealand.”
Although no construction or demolition workers have been killed during the rebuild, three people had been injured seriously enough within the central city redzone to be reported to the Labour Group of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.
One person sprained an ankle, another was injured when he tested the power of a waterblaster on his hand and, the most serious, was a man who broke his neck falling off a ladder at the Hotel Grand Chancellor demolition.
Several serious injuries have been reported from rebuild sites in the greater Christchurch area, but the Labour Group did not have those figures to hand yesterday.
The construction project in London was the first modern games construction project in the world where no workers died on the job having turned a virtual “wasteland” into a world class Olympic venue and village. The project which included 5 permanent stadiums, 11 residential blocks, 30 bridges, new railway lines and roads, also finished on time and within the budget set with fewer injuries recorded than the national average.
The London project which employed up to 12,500 workers and lasted over 5 years and total of 80 million hours so no fatalities and an excellent injury record of only 150 incidents, well below the national average is quite a feat.
A co-operative effort has been hailed as the contributing factor to the good safety record which advocated a heavy-inspection approach. The approach also maintained strict control of the private companies that were outsourced to preform many of the building tasks. This involved supervision of staff, an emphasis on safety by foreman rather than pushing for speed, an approach which other construction projects in London have maintained well after the Olympic build project has ended.
The target of every build site should be to attain a zero fatality and injury record. New Zealand and certainly Oz can learn from the example of the English who proved it can be done.