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One death too many

ew report exposes poor conditions at the Olympics site that led to the first fatality

The death of a worker on the massive Olympics 2012 construction site in East London forms the backbone of a new and damming report by Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union members, some of whom work on the site, exposing systematic breaches of basic health and safety, putting workers ‘at risk of injury and death’, as well as management cover-ups and deception.
Copies of the Report are available in the Bookshop for free or can be posted if you send in a pre-paid (61p 1st class, 47p 2nd class) SAE.

Shaun Scurry, 39, who worked for sub-contactors Firesafe as fire systems installer, was seriously injured at the beginning of December at the Stratford City section of the Olympics site, owned by multinational shopping developers Westfield. He later died in hospital to become the first fatality of the 2012 Olympic project. The cause of his death is still being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

However, the report published by members of IWW who spoke to workers on site at the time of the incident reveals a catalogue of sub-standard health and safety work practices and management cover-ups. According to eye witness accounts immediately after the accident, and before the arrival of police and HSE – who are charged with investigating any serious accidents or injuries on site – management contractors, PC Harrington, closed the sector while they erected safety signs and fences, secured ladders and cleaned walkways in an attempt to cover up their own failings.

Once the police arrived, the Firesafe workers were sent home but, incredibly, the other workers in the sector were told to continue working, and were not informed of the true nature of the incident until several days later. This, the report claims, could have led to further serious risk of injury. Also in the report workers with direct knowledge state Shaun Scurry was working alone on a scissor lift without a second ground operator as required for safe working. It concludes that the controls to the lift were inadvertently activated crushing the worker against a steel beam.

Workers are angered at being left in the dark about the incident and the lack of respect shown by management for not closing the site while a proper investigation could take place. The report was also critical of the construction union UCATT whose officials failed to keep workers informed or investigate the accident themselves, even failing to attend on the day of the accident.

Construction is the countries biggest industry with over 2.2 million workers. It is also one of the most dangerous. In the last 25 years, over 2,800 people have died from injuries they received as a result of construction work. Many more have been injured or made ill.

One Response

  1. ken says:

    Although the Death of Shaun Scurry was a tragic waste of a life, and an accident that shoule never have of happend, the details of which have not been realeased via the HSE, the Westfield project is not part of the Olympic site, it just happens that the two projects are running at the same time. Westfield to due to open Semtember 2011, whilst the games are due June 2012. Also the above report states that UCATT failed to attend at the time/day of the accident, this also is a lie.

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