Work on the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project may be on hold, but our focus on safety is not.
Before the lockdown began, lead contractor FM Conway carried out a training exercise which offered some important lessons and reassurance for scaffold working both at the time and in the future, and we thought you might be interested in reading about it.
You may have noticed in photographs of the work being carried out that people are often seen wearing what looks like a lead, tethering them to the bridge. This isn’t our attempt at chaining people to their work, it’s an important safety measure to protect workers should they accidentally trip and fall from the bridge. The harness means the person will not fall far and can be easily pulled back up onto the bridge or scaffold.
Thankfully, we have had no such falls, but that doesn’t mean we can be complacent. What if the person fell, and was pulled back up but had somehow become incapacitated? (For instance with a heart attack or broken leg.) Yes, we could carry them back through the scaffolding and out to safety, but the quickest way to get them off site and into the hands of the emergency services is to lower them from the bridge, down onto the safety boat.
The training was carried out using a dummy weighing 90 kilos, or just over 14 stones, and we’re pleased to report the “patient” was successfully lowered to safety. We hope this training will never need to be implemented in a real situation, but it’s good to know the team is prepared.