December 16, 2019 | Mark Paradies

Three Workers Almost Drowned in Sewage

sewage tunnel

Back in August of 2017 three workers were “flushed” down a sewer line and almost drowned. How did it happen?

A 150-year-old cast iron penstock gate was used to isolate the line the workers were working. But this gate could only hold so much sewage back. To keep the pressure under control, pumps were needed to control the level of the sewage. However, another job called for the pumps to be secured and there was no coordination between the two jobs.

Thus, when the pumps were stopped, the workers were “flushed” when the gate failed.

The workers were lucky. They could have drowned in the sewage. However, they only suffered minor physical injuries. The news reported that they did suffer from PTSD after the accident.

Thames Water was fined £300,000 and instructed to pay costs of £16,419 as a result of the UK HSE investigation.

Luck should not be your final Safeguard. This was a precursor incident to multiple fatalities.

What do you do to coordinate multiple jobs that may impact your workers?


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