April 30, 2019

Emergency Escape from a Confined Space at Honor Oak Reservoir – practice makes perfect!

In the course of our projects our staff often work in challenging locations including confined spaces and we need to ensure that in the event of an incident, we are prepared to conduct a rescue from these areas at any time. As part of our ongoing training and to coincide with our companywide April focus on Confined Spaces, we decided to simulate a rescue from Honor Oak reservoir in South East London as part of our ongoing works for Thames Water on their reservoir assets. The exercise involved evacuating one of our two company rescue dolls, in this case Clean Ruth (as opposed to Dirty Ruth, you guessed it for use on the waste network!) from a cell in the reservoir. Honor Oak poses many challenges for a rescue operation including the scale of the reservoir which is one of the largest in the UK and consequently the long rescue route required.

The drill was undertaken on 15th April at 10.45am with Ruth acting as an Injured Person with a serious head wound which required immediate rescue. The 5-man team was led by one of our most experienced reservoir staff, Dave Vilakazi, and his team of Avtar Singh, Narender Singh, Sarvjeet Singh and Stanley Sibandze. The alarm was set off by our topman to start the operation and the team swung into action. The exercise was a great learning experience with several valuable lessons which we will take on board for future planning and site arrangements.

Most of all it exercises like this one provide the team with an excellent opportunity to practice using the equipment and ensure that we are ready if there is an actual incident. A big thanks to Thames Water for allowing us to use the site for a drill, to Director of Operations, Barry Jones, Contracts Manager Stuart Welsh and the SHEQ team for their support. Finally, well done to Dave and his team for putting so much effort into this drill and working so well as a team.

Further drills are planned to take place on a quarterly basis across the business.

Emergency Escape from a Confined Space at Honor Oak Reservoir – practice makes perfect!