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A life changing legacy?

As we look back on the Olympics and Paralympics, there's plenty to reflect on.

You can take your pick: the staggering opening ceremony (great to see the construction workers given due acknowledgement), the enthralling sport, the medal-winning British performances, and the sheer success of the whole enterprise.

There's a real sense that London 2012 has changed Britain.

But as we reflect on what the Games legacy means, I really do wonder if the Games could also provide a turning point in attitudes to health and safety?

I don't so much mean in construction where the case for better safety and occupational health management was made so clearly and will have a lasting legacy, but in the wider public consciousness.

We didn't see the volume of silly 'elf and safety' decision making and headlines we anticipated.

Sure there were jokes on Twitter about the dangers of the hammer contest, but nobody seriously suggested that the bellowing crowds be told to pipe down to prevent hearing damage or that the BMX event should be banned because of its bone-crunching crashes.

Instead, we seemed to see a tremendous flourishing of 'can do' spirit, and in the case of the Paralympics overcoming adversity. It is my hope that this can be built upon, that properly nurtured it proves to be the perfect antidote to a tendency to find excuses, often on spurious health and safety grounds.

Our myth buster panel has recently dealt with several cases where we've given encouragement to community-based volunteers to challenge the bureaucracy that was being put in their way. I have already approached numerous sporting and educational organisations to see what support HSE can offer to encourage volunteering and engagement - especially by young people.

For me the greatest sporting memories of London 2012 came from the team events, especially the cycling and the rowing. We showed the world that Britain can do amazing things when we work together and put our minds to it. I hope we can harness that spirit to slay the "elf n safety monster" and reclaim the importance of real health and safety which enables people to go home from work safe at the end of every day.

London 2012 wasn't just about sport but about a great opportunity to recalibrate our sense of sprit, adventure and endeavour in everything we do.

2016-04-13