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ESS Safeforce assists Elan Valley Aqueduct shutdown

For the 10th year running ESS Safeforce assisted Severn Trent Water with an annual shutdown to carry out inspection and maintenance of a 73 mile, 125 year old tunnel in Rhayader, Wales.

The ESS Safeforce Safety Team was asked, through the principal contractor Amey, to supply four top-men, plus three rescue teams and three welfare trucks to assist the shutdown. Similar to previous years the work had to be carried out swiftly in just two days as half of Birmingham’s water is supplied through the pipe.

The teams assembled with the contractors on Tuesday 24th October for a sign on and a briefing session. A work plan for Wednesday was provided, meaning the locations for the Safety Teams could be established.

On the following day each individual was given a comprehensive brief and then headed off to the various sites for their 12 hour shifts.

Work consisted of walk through inspections, the longest being 7km, to localised remedial works. ESS Safeforce was responsible for logging not only the contractor’s staff in and out but also all of their tools and equipment. To ensure this was done effectively, the team produced dedicated log sheets.

At the end of each day shift the team assembled in the control room to receive the work schedule for the following day.

The access team experienced an issue when they lost all communication with the control point and egress team due to the distance of the tunnel. The entrant team were delayed – they couldn’t start working without the other teams knowing what was happening.

The ESS Safeforce team reacted quickly and used their initiative to re-establish communication - the Safety & Rescue Team and Trevor the project’s Field Operations Manager stationed themselves between the access team and the egress team. Information was relayed to the Safety & Rescue Team, who then relayed it to Trevor, who was able to make contact with the control point and the egress team.

Once again the shutdown was completed efficiently and safely for all of those involved and the water continues to make its amazing journey along the 73 mile Elan Valley Aqueduct.