The head of health and safety for the London Olympics has called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 games and to make that announcement immediately. According to Lawrence Waterman OBE, Chairman of the British Safety Council, the games cannot go ahead as planned without putting people in Japan, athletes and visitors at risk. Social distancing requirements in place amongst many competitor nations are currently preventing athletes from training safely.
There are currently 1,046 cases of Coronavirus reported in Japan and 41 people have died. This would make it impossible safely to set up for the games and test the new facilities. Testing events with crowds, vital to the safe running of an event on this scale is impossible with social distancing.
Speaking from his home today Lawrence Waterman said:
“These games need to be postponed, and the sooner the IOC and the Japanese government face up to this the better – it is simply not safe to put the games on during a global pandemic. People’s safety and health should come before the costs of delaying contracts.
The London Games were the first in history to be completed without a single fatality – we set the standard on health and safety at the Olympics. Key to that is testing venues with real crowds to iron out problems – that’s simply not possible if people are to be two metres apart”
After the 2012 games Mr Waterman went on to be Director of Health and Safety at the Battersea Power Station redevelopment and is currently the Chair of the British Safety Council, a charity dedicated to workplace health, safety and wellbeing.
Mr Waterman went on to say:
“The Coronavirus is requiring big sacrifices from us all – the IOC should be no exception and however much they want to see the red carpet rolled out for them in Tokyo the only responsible thing is to postpone the games. They should do so now.”