The Health and Safety Executive has appointed a senior manager to co-ordinate its response to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Brian Etheridge, head of the local authority unit, will oversee policy on all projects, including the construction programme, transport development and emergency planning. The HSE is also considering diverting additional resources to its construction arm to cope with construction projects.

Stephen Williams, who officially took up his position as chief inspector of construction last week, said: “The HSE always diverts resources where they are needed, but obviously the scale is different in this situation. The head of our London team is currently making an assessment of our needs.”

Williams said that any addition to resources could involve reinforcing the London inspection team to cope with the increased number of construction projects in the capital. “We are considering what we need to do, and strengthening the inspection team may be a possibility,” he said.

Williams was confirmed as chief inspector of construction at the HSE in August as a replacement for Kevin Myers, who will now head the hazardous installations division.

The head of our London team is making an assessment

HSE official Stephen Williams

In one of his first official duties, Williams this week launched the London phase of the HSE’s Working Well Together roadshow, a national five-week tour promoting health and safety awareness in construction. The scheme, which involves visiting about 7000 workers, aims to highlight health and safety risks to workers on large and small construction sites.

  • The HSE has ordered a stoppage of work on an upgrade of council houses in Stockport after refurbishment work disturbed materials containing asbestos.

The HSE has issued prohibition notices against Stockport council and contractor G&J Seddon, to prevent future work until the parties survey the housing to identify all asbestos-containing materials and set up safe systems of work.