As you would probably imagine, carrying out work on drainage systems throughout one of the biggest and most congested cities in the world can have its dangers. When employees are working in what is classed as a ‘confined space’, there are certain health and safety precautions that the HSE ask companies to put into place to ensure the safety of employees and the public. These precautions are vital if we are to avoid anyone becoming exposed to various dangers and hazards, including lack of oxygen; poisonous gas, fumes or vapour; hot conditions and many more.
Carrying Out Risk Assessments
Carrying out risk assessments is crucial when developing a plan for a drainage project. This assessment allows a health and safety professional to determine which safety measures need to be put into place in order to lower the risk of injury. The task itself, the working environment, the materials and tools that will be used in the project are all areas that need to be taken into consideration – we also need to make sure that we have adequate arrangements for emergency rescue should the need arise.
Dangers that Can Occur
There are many dangers that can occur when contracted for a drainage project. For example, liquids and solids could potentially fill the confined space, or release toxic gases when disturbed. This problem has occurred fairly recently within London’s drains in the form of what has been dubbed as the biggest fatberg London has ever seen! It took drainage workers 3 weeks to clear the 15 tonne fatberg in what was clearly a toxic and stench-filled environment.
The Confined Spaces Regulations Act 1997 states that if any of these types of dangers are identified, workers must avoid entry and instead work outside where possible. If this is not possible for the duration of the project, management staff will need to implement a ‘safe systems of work’, which will ensure that all workers have access to adequate emergency arrangements before any work is started or continued.
What We Do to Keep LDF Employees Safe and Sound
We fully understand the importance of health and safety in our industry, so here at London Drainage Facilities, we take the safety of our employees and the general public extremely seriously by operating our very own health and safety department. This ensures that all contracted work carried out by LDF is fully compliant with health and safety regulations and the right kinds of safety precautions have been put into place to lower the risk of injury.
Each one of our employees is given full training on the subject, too, to ensure that quality work and safety go hand in hand.
To find out more on what LDF does to enforce health and safety, click here.