13th November 2019


Sewage staff get health and safety training from actors

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A safety programme run by a group of actors is providing an immersive induction for staff at the Tideway ‘super sewer’ project.

Every member of the multi-billion-pound London construction project’s workforce, has taken part in the EPIC immersive training; a ground-breaking programme formed through a partnership between Tideway and ATT (Active Training Team).

The aim of the actor-based health and safety induction is to make every employee at Tideway appreciate his or her vital role in the implementation of safety and to increase worker engagement.

Rhoda Smith, HSW training lead on the Tideway project, told Acre: ‘As part of our transformational approach to health and safety, we wanted to do something a little bit different on Tideway and set new standards for the construction industry.

‘By using actors and story, we were able to not just communicate our health and safety message but engage the inductees emotionally.

‘The effect has been profound, and we often hear from those who have taken part in the EPIC induction that it has a lasting effect that gives people a bigger sense of responsibility when they get on site.’

Before undertaking the Tideway health and safety training, ATT created pop-up training programmes in a range of sectors, including renewables, energy, construction, transport and infrastructure.

The Tideway tunnel project comprises of a 16-mile (25km) tunnel running mostly under the tidal section of the River Thames, through central London. It will capture, store and transport almost all the raw sewage and rainwater that currently overflows into the river.

Janet Chinnery, head of corporate procurement at Tideway tunnel, told the CIPS (Centre for Innovation and Partnerships) UK Conference that health and safety was a key priority.

She said: “A lot of time and effort was put into finding a solution for health and safety that was innovative. We didn’t want a PowerPoint presentation that we push people through or a set of corporate messages.

“We thought long and hard about how we were going to get a supplier to support and partner with us throughout the project to deliver this very important aspect. We really looked at the market and what we alighted on, through some soft market testing and talking to suppliers, was a group of actors.

“We own the copyright to the script and put certain risks in place, but we’re working with them very much on a partnership basis to deliver this immersive experience in central London. We’ve got all sorts of mockups of disasters and it’s much more impactful. It’s taken us working with an SME to produce that.”

The tunnel project is due for completion in 2024.