The AGS Safety Working Group hosted the ‘Safety in Mind’ conference at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, UK, on Thursday, 21 November 2019. At the conference, leading industry experts presented topics on health and safety in the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industry.
RSK’s Gerwyn Leigh and Roseanna Bloxham presented. Gerwyn spoke on ‘the truth about service avoidance’, and Roseanna held a Lego workshop entitled ‘health and safety awareness in the field’.
The workshop was a 30-minute crash course on how to manage a site investigation safety. As a starter activity, delegates were given Lego mock-ups of site situations to spot NMPI’s. They were all identified with only a few obscure ones missed. The photo exercise aimed to promote the importance of being aware of what’s happening on the site to ensure that everyone is working safely and the importance of intervention.
The delegates then got involved in the main part of the session. They had to decide where to place their borehole taking into account site constraints. They then had to plan the work using Lego, marking safe-working areas, ensuring that public access is restricted, managing traffic, and keeping the site open with as little disruption as possible. Lego barriers were used to demarcate safe-working areas, cars were used as test vehicles to see if access was possible, and ‘man at work’ signs were positioned in visible open areas to warn the public.
It was interesting to see that while the borehole position was similar for all groups, all their approaches to the site set up were slightly different. Some groups tried to reduce the working area to ensure public access, while others created larger-working areas for their staff. No answer is correct, the aim of the task was to raise awareness of what you need to consider when planning an investigation and give project managers an understanding of what challenges our engineers can face daily.
All 25 delegates were involved in the task and worked well in their teams. There were many discussions about what size working areas were required and what affect this would have on surrounding infrastructure. Many of the delegates were impressed with how useful Lego is as a tool for site planning and commented that they would like to use it in their companies as a tool to aid engineers.