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EKFB and Northants Fire & Rescue Service carry out mock incident drill to promote safety near sites

Red light jumping by members of the public is a safety risk across Britain’s busy road network. But what happens when a vehicle jumps a red light at an intersection with a construction site?

A collision between a standard family-sized vehicle and a 45-tonne dumper truck can be fatal. This case study explains why localised road safety is of paramount concern for EKFB, one of HS2’s main works contractors.

EKFB has numerous active compounds and sites located between the North Chilterns and South Warwickshire, many of which are situated in semi-rural areas, close to villages and towns. Construction operations using heavy machinery known as ‘plant’ are at peak during the summer months and across the 80km stretch of the central section of the new High Speed railway, more than 600 pieces of plant are in motion. These huge machines can weigh up to 90 tonnes – that’s the weight equivalent to 30,000 house bricks.

Typically, plant machinery use EKFB’s purpose built ‘internal’ access road consisting of a network of site roads designed to move people and material around safely during construction, without using public highways.

Where the plant does need to interface with the public highway, a traffic light system is in place. Over the past three months, EKFB’s security cameras have recorded a number of red-light jumping incidents, highlighting the need to carry out exercises to test our response, working with local emergency services should an incident occur.

During the summer, the EKFB team joined forces with Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Services to simulate an incident. This involved a 45-tonne articulated dump truck (ADT), operated by our strategic partner, Walters, colliding with two vehicles, which for the purpose of the exercise, ran a red light and were struck by the ADT.

This no-notice mock incident provided a real-life scenario and a safe environment to test collaborative working between EKFB and the emergency services. Firefighters used their skills and equipment to extricate ‘casualties’ trapped in the cars and made the scene safe whilst the ambulance service treated and assisted with medical interventions and support.

EKFB’s First Responders also attended the scene which was monitored by EKFB’s Security Operations Centre via CCTV.

Elliott Clark, Safety, Health & Wellbeing Manager for EKFB and organiser of the mock incident, said:

“This exercise really demonstrated our commitment to ensuring EKFB is prepared and has tested our response to a major incident.

“The exercise tested how effectively emergency services commanders would co-locate to support joint working and how relevant information was effectively communicated across the emergency services and EKFB throughout the incident. Another area of focus was how collective emergency responders managed the emerging risks of the incident to produce shared situational awareness and influence key decision making. EKFB were active participants throughout the exercise, organising resources and providing an information link between incident commanders and EKFB senior management.

“By collaborating with the emergency services, it added a level of realism that tested our teams response and endurance in a complex situation. We look forward to continuing the relationship with the emergency services to ensure we test further scenarios as the project develops.”

Phil Pells, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said:

“Multi-agency exercises such this are absolutely vital for us to test how successfully we work with other emergency services at a variety of incidents. They also provide an opportunity to work alongside other organisations, such as EKFB and HS2, to ensure that emergency protocols are aligned to achieve the best possible outcome for all involved.

“We regularly undertake scenario exercises to rigorously test our emergency response plans in a controlled, but realistic environment, applying the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) principles which provide a standard approach when dealing with multi-agency incidents.”

Behind the scenes, three levels of command – gold, silver and bronze – were assessed and activated by EKFB according to the severity of the incident. The bronze command focused on what was happening directly on the scene; silver and gold followed, and involved senior management, the client, and EKFBs supporting departments such as the communications and community engagement teams. Cascading timely information and updates is crucial and the mock incident allowed all teams to exercise their own internal emergency response plans.

Overall, the drill was made a success by all parties involved and resulted in plenty of lessons learned as teams received life-saving training.

The purpose of this film is to highlight the dangers of skipping a red light.

Many thanks to Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire emergency services for supporting this exercise.


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