British Safety Council honours Sir John Armitt

The Trustees of the British Safety Council have bestowed on Sir John Armitt, chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, an award for distinguished service in recognition of his outstanding contribution to health and safety.

This is the first such award bestowed by the British Safety Council. In a presentation ceremony held at Lincolns Inn on 6 December the Chair and Trustees of the British Safety Council joined member organisations who had participated in the construction of Olympic venues in celebrating the award to Sir John. Lynda Armstrong, Chair of the Trustees of the British Safety Council, in presenting the award said: “What the British Safety Council is keen to do is publicly recognise John for his long and distinguished career both in the construction and transport sectors. His leadership as Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority was instrumental in helping to deliver world class venues for the 2012 Olympics but also world class health, safety and environmental management. John is an exemplar in promoting the benefits of strong leadership and wholehearted workforce involvement. “Some of those people who helped to deliver the successful construction of Olympic venues are here today – from BAM Nuttall, Barhale, Carillion, McNicholas, MACE, the Olympic Delivery Authority and HSE – to add their warmest congratulations to those of the British Safety Council and are testament to John’s’ leadership. Many congratulations John.” In accepting the award Sir John said: “Everybody working together was what actually achieved that health and safety performance. For us at the end of the day we knew we were going to finish on time. For me it was an issue that continued right up to the day of the Games opening ceremony, and it remains an issue as we wind down, and that is ’Are we going to get to end of the project without a fatal accident?’. The construction for the Games presented the opportunity to make a step change in how we manage health and safety in the construction industry. “What struck me having been around for such a long time, what distinguishes the last 45 years, what your remember most is the number of letters you have written to the families of people who have died, or the coroner’s inquests you have had to attend. You never forget those. There are too many of them. And every one is one too many. The reason that individual was hurt or died was that he was not working in the right environment, or their behaviour was not the right behaviour. We can’t blame him for that. The responsibility for the making the change to safety sits with all of us. As leaders we have the ability to help make that change working with others across our teams and our organisations. We all have that individual responsibility. “Thank you very much for this award. I am receiving this award on behalf of thousands who put their hearts and souls into delivering the Olympics. I would like to accept this award on behalf of all of those people. What we have to do now is keeping on doing it and doing it better. There is still lots of room for improvement. I can assure you there is so much satisfaction from doing it better and sending people home safe.”