Tideway Tunnel Sets High Standards for Health & Safety

Tideway TunnelOne of the largest infrastructure projects currently underway is the Tideway Tunnel. We were lucky enough to hear the Asset Management Director, Roger Bailey, of Thames Tideway Tunnel speak at the recent Infrastructure Show. For us on the day the interesting part of his delivery was the push on Health and Safety and their Partnership Alliance.

He spoke of the fact that Health and Safety is 'central' for this project, and they are using lessons learned from the Olympics as well as other large projects. He stated that Health and Safety was the most integral part for the project and concerns all key areas such as Economy, Environment, People and Place. There are now 8 million people in London which has given rise to sewage issues and overflow issues, particularly with the wet weather. The Tideway Tunnel is a major project and will have the deepest shaft in London, 66 meters deep. This in itself has given the team some very specific challenges.

There is a need to provide storm management that would resolve the current issues but also take London into the future as the population grows. Along with this they need better sewage control, with 62 million tons of overflow which sadly meant in the past the need to empty sewage into the Thames, which is unacceptable.

The Flood Water Management Act 2010 (now regulated by OFWAT, the UK water regulators) and the severe lack of sewage and flood control in London lead to the Tideway Alliance. Part of the delivery is The Tideway Tunnel which will be will be a major new sewer which is urgently needed to protect the tidal River Thames from pollution.

The delivery model states:-

  • Health, safety and the wellbeing of our people and the public are paramount – we intend to work safely or not at all
  • It is being delivered by Tideway, an independent regulated water company
  • We intend to deliver the project to the right quality, on time and budget, for the benefit of the environment, local stakeholders, Thames Water's bill payers, and investors
  • The tunnel is the largest project in the water sector since the construction of Sir Joseph Bazalgette's interceptor sewers in the 1860s

With health and Safety being paramount they have educated 10,000 people so far to give them the tools to better manage health, safety, people and the construction environment. There is even a 'simulation' of an event that the trainees attend that provides a more real environment, teaching them 'intervention planning' in order to save lives should any issues arise.

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