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 will be 7.2m in diameter, 25km long and run up to 65m below the river. It is due to be completed in 2023.
There are 24 sites across London and three hubs for the six tunnel-boring machines.
From the outset, exemplary health and safety has been a central part of the project, with an array of new initiatives introduced. The main motivator for this is 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 works on the project which includes 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 Thames Tideway Tunnel project to see if the approach on megaprojects differ to that on regular construction work. The findings provide insight and enable informed views to influence OSH practice.
The team has published a range of papers in academic journals off the back of the research. These include:
- “Applying a longitudinal tracer methodology to evaluate complex interventions in complex settings”, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
- “The use of actor-based immersive health and safety inductions: Lessons from the Thames Tideway Tunnel megaproject”, Applied Ergonomics: Human factors in technology and society
- “Raising the bar for occupational health management in construction”, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Civil Engineering
IOSH has supported the Tideway project through a number of news releases to media, working closely alongside communications colleagues on the project and at Loughborough University:
- Case study: “I’m a total health and safety geek – and proud of it!”
- How do major construction projects manage workers’ health effectively?
- Case study: “Working in industry has changed my life” – an interview with crane driver Katie Kelleher
- Major construction projects play a critical role in improving workers’ understanding of occupational health risks, study finds
The research has been covered by a range of sectoral and occupational safety and health media, including Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Building, Design and Construction, Health and Safety Middle East and Construction Plant News.
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.
During the panel discussion, Professor Alistair Gibb, the Principal Investigator on the research from Loughborough University, highlighted some of the findings from the research alongside a panel of experts from across industry, including Kelvin Williams, President Elect - British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), Jennie Armstrong, Head of Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Tideway and Malcolm Shiels, Chair of IOSH’s Construction Group. The session was chaired by Mary Ogungbeje, OSH Research Manager at IOSH.
During the research programme, the research team also produced summary reports on the following topics:
- Communications assessment
A computer-based tutorial on English, addressing communication of health, safety and wellbeing, taken by everyone involved in Tideway. The IOSH construction Group has produced a one-page infographic summary on this topic.
- EPIC induction
An actor-based, interactive and immersive whole-day induction for everyone involved in Tideway
- Occupational health arrangements
The set-up of occupational health services to support Tideway’s strategy, and the key arrangements for workers and wellbeing
- Preventing work-related ill-health
The practical measures being used on Tideway to reduce risks at source wherever possible.
- Site welfare - A review of the welfare facilities provision on Tideway.
There was also a webinar to give an overview of the research. You can listen to the webinar below:
For more information on the Tideway project visit: https://www.tideway.london/
IOSH will continue to work closely with the research team and construction firms to explore how the research may inform organisational policies and practices. If you have found the findings useful and introduced changes to your organisation as a result then we’d like to hear from you, contact email@example.com.