The 80,000-seater stadium and the 2,818 flats built for the Olympic Village in Stratford, east London, were constructed by a workforce who lived on ‘takeaways’, according to Olympic chiefs.
I mean, if they’d realised their workforce were breaking the safety regulations left, right and centre, I could see a need for concern.
But…who cares what they ate?
It was only during construction that bosses from the Olympics Delivery Authority (ODA) realised that a staggering number of the 12,000 builders working on the Olympic showpiece were living an ‘unhealthy lifestyle’ and that many were significantly overweight.
And yet, presumably, still quite capable of doing a physically-demanding job?
I mean, they wouldn’t be paid otherwise. Would they?
Lawrence Waterman, head of health and safety for the ODA, revealed the shock statistics at a health and safety conference hosted by the Police Federation last week.
What has this to do with H&S? Why are the police federation – currently bitching about cuts to front line staff – wasting time on this nonsense?
He said that accidents were being caused by workers skipping breakfast after indulging in fatty takeaways the night before – leaving them ‘desperate’ for something to eat by lunchtime.
Is there any scientific basis to this? Or is that just the excuse offered by the person after the accident?
The conference heard how accidents at the massive 500-acre site ‘peaked’ in the one-hour period before lunch as workers’ minds were on what they were having for lunch rather than on the job in hand.
Or is it that it’s the period when the shift is coming to a natural break and people are therefore tired?
Have you tried moving lunch forward an hour, or taking a ‘minibreak’ half-way through, and seeing if the pattern recurs?
Mr Waterman said that as soon as bosses at the ODA realised how unhealthy the workers were they started offering bowls of porridge for just £1 to workers so they got a ‘healthy start to the day’.
Did it work? Well, they claim so:
“We had canteens offering porridge for a £1 and accidents in the morning went down.”
Was that down to the food, or down to the fact that the workers got a break while they ate the food, rather than getting stuck in to work?
Well, there’s always an anecdote, isn’t there?
One 41-year-old worker, who did not want to be named, said today (Tue): “A lot of the lads on the site were pretty big.
“Builders are known for their love of fry-ups and fast food – it comes as part of the job really – but nobody realised quite how unhealthy most of us were.”
The 40-year-old worker – who admitted that he was overweight – added: “Lots of us ended up eating porridge in the morning to see us through to lunchtime and I must admit it did work.
“Before that we couldn’t stop thinking about what we were having for lunch.”
I remain unconvinced, not to mention unimpressed…
But who knew that when the budget for the Olympics was soaring out of control, it was going on building worker dietician services?