The Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project was put on hold while we reviewed the programme of works in relation to social distancing measures.
We’ve already touched upon a few of the many safety activities being carried out as part of the site’s revised Construction Health and Safety Plan, but how do we know the measures are being implemented?
In addition to a dedicated Social Distancing Marshal, and regular walk-throughs of the site by the overseeing engineer, a number of Health and Safety reviews are being carried out, by both Bridge Engineer Arcadis and Lead Contractor FM Conway, as well as any sub-contractors where necessary.
David Webster, Technical Director at Arcadis, has already audited the Health and Safety programme and will now be one of the people carrying out an inspection to confirm all measures are being correctly implemented. He said: “During my inspection I will tour the site with the lead contractor. This gives me the opportunity to discuss any issues that may arise and to find out more about alternative safe systems they may propose.
“The inspection includes reviewing all safety measures – from large-scale activities such as the correct operation of a one-way system for workers passing through the welfare cabin, to the small things such as the safe removal of protective gloves. You’d be surprised how easy it can be for a person to remember the big things but still remove a dirty pair of gloves with their teeth – something that absolutely should not happen if we’re to do our bit to stop the spread of the virus.”
The Health and Safety inspections include reviewing compliance with risk and method statements for each particular task, paying attention to all safety measures – including Covid-19 arrangements without forgetting the general good practice that has always been required.
David added: “In our role as Bridge Engineer to the Trust, Arcadis has always been responsible for overseeing all works and compliance within the refurbishment project. This has not changed with the arrival of the Covid-19 crisis.
“What has changed is the need to review and revise all work practices to ensure they keep everyone on site – at work or as a member of the public – safe in light of the situation we now find the world in.
“The first step for this was to significantly update the health and safety plan to take into account social distancing measures. This includes safe measures for working together apart, and reviewing work practices to accommodate the impact of any additional PPE that needs to be worn. The reviews we are carrying out will help ensure the site is as safe and secure today as it was when everything was shut down.”