Socialist Worker

Death on the Olympic site shows danger of safety cuts

Issue No. 2259

A sixty-five year old Laing O’Rourke crane operator died on the Olympic park site in London on Tuesday of last week.

A Metropolitan Police statement this week implied that initial tests had concluded that the worker, the first to die on the site, had not died from a fall.

A spokesperson said: “Post mortem results indicate cause of death as natural causes.”

An eyewitness reported seeing the man slip and fall 30 feet while climbing down his crane’s ladder in stormy conditions.

Meanwhile, provisional data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows that 50 construction workers died at work in the year from April 2010 to March 2011.

This is an increase on the previous year, when 41 died.

The rate of fatal injury is up by 26 percent on the previous year.

The numbers were released the day after the government called for views on what health and safety laws should be cut.

George Guy, acting general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said, “These latest figures must serve as an urgent wake up call for the government.

“This rise in deaths occurred before the government’s cuts kicked in.”

He accused the government of giving bosses a “green light” to avoid taking safety laws seriously.

The total number of deaths in all industries increased by 16 percent from 147 to 171.

Other sector with high fatality rates include agriculture with 34 fatal injuries, and waste and recycling with nine.

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Tue 5 Jul 2011, 16:31 BST
Issue No. 2259
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