Are Brazil doing enough for The World Cup 2014?
The Brazilian government is pulling out all the stops to ensure that everything is ready in time for the start of the world’s biggest footballing event – the World Cup. With less than two weeks until the opening match kicks off in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday June 12th.
The run up to the competition has been plagued with health and safety disasters resulting in several workers losing their lives. The organising committee has been publicly criticised on several occasions after construction workers were killed building the new stadia that will host several of the matches.
It is reported by some outlets that contractors rushing to get projects back on track have been cutting corners to meet deadlines. This safety-second approach has led to the death of at least eight workers during the construction phase of the preparations.
Focus shifts to off the pitch action
With the stadia now apparently ready host matches, Brazilian authorities have begun shifting their attentions to matters off the pitch. News broke this week of several Rio de Janeiro hotels being investigated for food safety and hygiene breaches.
What made the story particularly newsworthy was that the hotels raided included those set to be used by the English and Italian national teams. During their investigations, inspectors confiscated 50 kilograms of food from the Portobello Hotel used by the Italians. A further 2 kilograms were then removed from England’s Hotel Tulip.
The move comes as part of a wider campaign by the ‘State Secretariat for the Defense and Protection of Consumers’ – similar to Britain’s Food Standards Agency. Brazilian officials visited a total of 13 outlets, citing eight for failures in maintaining public health and safety.
Not just a World Cup exercise
In the same way that South African officials were keen to raise the image of their country back in 2010, Brazil are determined to present a positive image to visitors. And with the world’s attention focused on their country for an entire month, such efforts make sense.
But health and safety of employees and the general public is not just a box-ticking exercise that needs to be completed in times of global sporting attention. Health and safety is a continuous process of monitoring and improvement, always designed to raise standards and reduce accidents.
Here in the UK, preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games were mercifully fatality-free. Whether this is down to more stringent health and safety regulations, better planning or a better educated workforce is unclear. However an unswerving commitment to worker safety meant that the Games were delivered on time and without major mishap.
And so it is for any business operating in the UK. Your ‘responsible person’ needs to ensure that all company activities are compliant with the relevant health and safety legislation, and that your staff are fully trained in their duties. Taking such an approach will protect employees and the public all year round, not just when the media is looking.