Have just watched a 3 minute clip of Oxford Circus tube station being constructed 50 years ago almost to the day. Contractors closed Oxford Circus and formed a giant steel umbrella / bridge to take traffic from Regent Street and Oxford Street while the tube station was constructed beneath it. The umbrella was removed five years later in 1968. The clip of construction [complete with a Raymond Baxter commentary] is on the BBC website whilst the full film can be found on the BFI transport archive series which covers the building of the Victoria Line – British Transport Films Collection Vol 11 – Experiment Under London. There’s also a small clip of the removal of the umbrella on the Pathe website.
What these clips illustrate is how far construction safety has come in 50 years, there is a total lack of any modern construction safety equipment – no hard hats, socks and wellies rather than steel toe caps, donkey jackets rather than hi-viz, no eye protection or gloves. The passing general public are pretty poorly separated from the site whilst one or two people seem just to wander in. Just take a look at that great lump of steel being swung around in the screen clip below.
These days of course there is legislative protection for construction projects in the form of the CDM Construction [Design & Management] Regulations 2007 which aim to design in safety from the very start of a non domestic project. There is plenty of information about he CDM regs on the HSE website, or of course call us to discuss how we might be able to help.