Flood Emergency. Commercial Services role and preparations for future events.

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1 Agenda Item 5 Executive Member for Commercial Services 2 nd November 2004 Report of the Director of Commercial Services Flood Emergency. Commercial Services role and preparations for future events. Purpose of Report 1. Following the floods of November 2000 a Flood Scrutiny Panel was set up to investigate how the emergency was dealt with and to inform future planning in the event of a further occurrence. The final scrutiny report was considered by the panel on the 11 th of August Various recommendations were made including, Recommendation 4; That the Executive Member and Director of Commercial Services, undertake a review of all working practices, to ensure that they comply with the Health and Safety Regulations expected of such a working environment and that measures - including model scenario risk analysis and training of core long term staff are undertaken to guarantee the same standard of practice in Flood Emergency situations. 2. Following the flood of 2000 a review of operations was undertaken in conjunction with the authorities emergency planning team. This report highlights the changes that have been made to our operation following that review and our approach to Health and Safety with specific reference to floods and other emergencies. Background 3. Commercial Services are in a unique position within the authority because of our ability to be able to rapidly respond to an emergency with large resources readily at our disposal. We are often the first to respond to an incident and work closely with the three main emergency services. We have immediate access to large numbers of staff, plant and equipment. This can be deployed at very short notice and has been used in the past to deal with emergencies such as: Road traffic accidents and incidents. Setting up roadblocks and diversions, cleaning up oil spills or debris left from accidents, we work regularly with the police, often being the first to arrive. A recent incident on the A1237 ring road brought particular praise from the police.

2 Fires. Commercial Services were the first to respond to the fire at Park Grove School playing a significant role on behalf of the authority in liaison with emergency services and securing the site after the fire.

3 Explosions. The gas main explosion at Clifton was first attended by a Commercial Services officer who worked with other agencies to set up a shelter for displaced residents, also setting up roadblocks and diversions. Floods. Apart from the major incident in 2000 we deal two or three times a year with normal floods involving sandbagging, closing roads and erecting warning signs and clean operations after the event. Gales. During heavy winds we respond to fallen trees and branches and make safe damaged buildings or roofs. Winter. During the winter we operate eight gritting routes and are able to respond to extreme conditions by deploying large numbers of staff and equipment in snow clearance. 4. Following the flood of 2000 a review of the authorities response to the emergency and the existing flood plan was undertaken. From this review a new flood plan was produced. This plan is reviewed annually in September. 5. In drawing up the plan Commercial Services reviewed it s operation and produced a section within the plan which looks specifically at the role Commercial Services play in a flood emergency and the health and safety considerations. A copy of this section of the plan is attached as Annex 1 Health and Safety 6. Commercial Services have a good record in Health and Safety issues. We employ a full time health and safety advisor and as part of our commitment to becoming a quality assured service provider have recently formed a quality department with health and safety an integral part of the unit. 7. In 1998 we led the authority in undertaking annual audits of our health and safety management systems and have now had five complete audits. We are currently scoring 62% in the ROSPA audit system, which is equivalent to level 2 (A copy of the radar chart showing our score is attached as Annex 2). This is the best performance within the authority. Our aim is to attain and maintain level three. From each audit an action plan is developed to strengthen our approach, the purpose being not to chase ever-higher ratings but to ensure the Health and Safety of staff and anyone who is affected by the work we undertake. 8. The construction department has a policy of ensuring everyone who works in the section must have as a minimum one full day health and safety training, which is refreshed every five years. All staff from supervisor up attends a five-day Managing Safely course, which is certificated by IOSH (Institute of Occupational Safety and Health). 9. In addition to the one-day health and safety training operatives receive regular training in specific work related activities such as working in confined spaces, safe lifting and the operation of specialist machinery.

4 10. One of the key requirements of health and safety management is the undertaking of risk assessments. Following a risk assessment a Safe System of Work (SSOW) is devised if there is a significant risk identified that cannot be removed. These are undertaken on all of our operations and regularly reviewed. 11. Specific to the issues that may arise in a flood situation is a risk assessment and SSOW For work adjacent to, in, or on water A copy of this SSOW is attached as Annex Risk assessments for emergency situations are difficult to undertake in advance, as the specific nature of the risks associated with the activity will not be known. For this reason in line with the approach taken by the other emergency services Dynamic risk assessments will be undertaken during the emergency in response to situations as they arise. This policy is detailed within the plan in Annex 1. Equipment 13. To be able to cope with emergencies Commercial Services operate a fully equipped emergency vehicle, which is capable of driving through most flooded streets to take emergency equipment where it is needed. We also have two small boats, which can be used to ferry supplies to stranded areas. There is a list of all the materials and equipment kept in store at Foss Islands Depot within Annex 1. Recommendations 14. The executive member is asked to approve Commercial Services approach to dealing with floods and other emergencies in the contents of the report. Contact Details Author: Richard White 3206 Chief Officer responsible for the report: David Finnegan For further information please contact the author of the report Background Papers: Annex 1 Commercial Services flood plan Annex 2 ROSPA Radar chart Annex 3 CP23 SSOW for Work adjacent to, in, or on water.

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