Extricating a casualty from a dangerous situation such as from within a confined space requires specialist technical rescue skills in order to prevent further problems.
Responsible businesses who have workers who might realistically operate in such environments are increasingly making sure that their teams are well trained to react quickly and safely in an emergency situation. However – when training to complete these complicated rescues, it makes sense that you would not want to risk a fellow colleague as a ‘volunteer’ victim! This is when manikins are the ideal solution
Ruth Lee Ltd were therefore pleased to respond to a request from the eight2o water alliance to provide them with a solution for a scenario they were creating which featured a 5m deep trench, which was approximately 6m long and included a 1.5m x 1.5m timber boarded area acting as the confined space.
The eight2o partners involved are Thames Water and two design and build joint ventures. The request came from the SMB partners which are Skanska, MWH Treatment and Balfour Beatty. eight2O is the largest alliance in the water sector.
The ideal solution for them was a Confined Space manikin! This model was designed to be easier to carry and position within poor access locations and is split into several component parts which can then be clipped together in situ.
Hoping to help the team at SMB to create the very best scenario and construct the best rescue plans, Ruth Lee Ltd liaised with South Central Ambulance Service HART Team and specialist technical rescue crews from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue to arrange their attendance at the training day, so that a collaborative approach could be adopted for best practise.
Mike Green, Senior Health, Safety and Wellbeing Advisor at MWH Treatment Limited led the day and said,
“It was a great day where our site team could put in to practice what had been recorded and briefed with regards to what should be done if we need to evacuate a casualty from the 5 metre deep excavation, which also has a 6 metre horizontal 1.5m x 1.5m tunnel (timber heading) at the bottom!
It is an absolute requirement to have such plans in place, particularly when working in confined spaces.
As we don’t want to put any of our employees at risk, especially when using a recovery stretcher, lifting etc, the use of a manikin was the right thing to do to, allowing the team to practice the evacuation safely.
Once the drill was completed, we were able to review and feedback with the team any areas of improvement required, to ensure that any further evacuations would be carried out flawlessly going forward.
It was also great to be able to offer the emergency services the opportunity to come on to a ‘live’ operational site, to allow them to put in to practice the recovery of the manikin from the tunnel and share their own experience.
I understand that the fire and ambulance service don’t often have the opportunity to undertake joint exercises similar to what we did, and it was also noted during a close out briefing with the emergency service that they were able to use the exercise to identify their own areas of improvement going forward.
I was very pleased with the event - the exercise went brilliantly and our team got a lot from it. These learnings have been cascaded through Thames Water and my parent company, and all have praised the day.”