Emergency response drill for Leighs Construction

  • September 17, 2014
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Anthony Leighs pic
Anthony Leighs
Managing Director, Leighs Construction

If a giant pre-cast panel slips and kills one of your men and pins others beneath it, what are you going to do?

Hopefully this isn’t something your company ever needs to face but, if it does, you need to be well prepared.

Last month, Kestrel did a combined emergency response training and crisis exercise with Leighs Construction in Christchurch dealing with just such a scenario.

The company had put a new Crisis Management Team structure in place in the past 12 months but hadn’t had the opportunity to test how it would work in reality.

Kestrel Group was asked to go in and put the crisis and site response teams through their paces.

“They asked us to provide training for the teams on how they would manage an incident on site of enough significance to activate the company’s Crisis Management Team,” says Karen Stephens, Director Kestrel Group.

“We brought the site managers and site staff to head office so we could simulate a response and at the same time provide training across the organisation.

“We had a big team of people together from multiple work sites, as well as fire, ambulance, police and WorkSafe NZ. This was an opportunity to build understanding of what the emergency services need you as a company to control and what they need to do to undertake their roles.

“Leighs did really well and we were all really happy with the way it went. It had morphed away from the original idea of holding the exercise at just one site and that was a good thing, because it meant we could include more people from across the organisation,” says Karen.

Anthony Leighs, Managing Director Leighs Construction, says the company want to be as prepared as they can to cope with such an incident, without having to learn from losing someone in the workplace.

“We had developed a crisis management plan and, as a part of that, I wanted to run a drill that was comprehensive and as close to real life as possible.”

Anthony says to do this he needed the expertise of an external provider. The brief was to run a crisis scenario that was as realistic as possible. Kestrel formulated the scenario, managed the role play, engaged the emergency services and Worksafe and carried out a three hour exercise.

Anthony says the exercise proved invaluable, especially for members of the team who hadn’t experienced a major incident.

“One of the things that stood out from the exercise was how quickly normal communication plans and channels go down in an emergency situation because of competing demands. We’ve developed an action list of a number of items that came out of the exercise, including communications, and we’re working through that to enhance our crisis management and health and safety plans and to incorporate into our standard operating procedures.

“We got so much value out of the exercise and our team now has even more motivation to ensure we never find ourselves in a real life situation like that played out in the scenario.”
Anthony says Kestrel was fantastic to work with and was very accommodating in meeting their needs. “We changed the brief along the way and they were very flexible around that. We are very happy with our choice of Kestrel.”

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