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Thames Tideway Tunnel project


The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a huge project being undertaken in London to build an urgently needed new sewer. The aim of the project is to protect the tidal River Thames from sewage pollution.

The tunnel is 7.2m in diameter, 25km long and runs up to 65m below the river. There were 24 sites across London and three hubs for the six tunnel-boring machines. The tunnelling phase of the project finished in 2022.

From the outset, exemplary health and safety was a central part of the project, with an array of new initiatives introduced. The main motivator for this was to eliminate the ‘spike’ of injuries that often occurs at the beginning of projects.

One example is the experiential induction programme, EPIC – a thorough induction for every single person who worked on the project which included engagement, realistic sets and actors to simulate real-life situations.

The research programme

IOSH funded a three-year research programme that monitored key health and safety processes, personnel, documentation, events and activities on the Tideway project. The project came to an end in January 2019.

Members of the research team, from Loughborough University, were integrated into each of the construction teams working on the Tideway Project. They set out to study the management of health, safety and wellbeing interventions on the project to see if the approach on mega-projects differ to that on regular construction work. The findings provide insight and enable informed views to influence occupational safety and health (OSH) practice.

Research showcased at conference

The research team provided insights into how the health of workers is managed on large construction projects during a panel discussion on Tuesday 17 September at the IOSH 2019 conference.

Professor Alistair Gibb, the principal investigator on the research from Loughborough University, highlighted some of the research findings alongside a panel of experts. The panel included:

  • Kelvin Williams, President Elect of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS)
  • Jennie Armstrong, Head of Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Tideway
  • Malcolm Shiels, Chair of IOSH’s Construction Group.

The session was chaired by Mary Ogungbeje, OSH Research Manager at IOSH.

Summary reports

The research team also produced summary reports on different topics.

Last updated: 14 February 2024