Lanes Group Plc

Lanes Group plc is the UK’s largest independent drainage contractor with over 25 years of service. They are the wastewater solutions provider at the heart of the UK drainage industry. Originating as a 5-person drain cleaning and repair specialist in Leeds in 1992, they now employ over 1900 people.

Currently exceeding mandatory health and safety standards, Lanes Utilities won the Thames Water Health and Safety Innovation of the Year award in both 2014 and 2015 as well as gaining 7 consecutive Gold Awards for RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety.

“Crowcon gas detection units are my most preferred device and have been since I began teaching confined spaces seven years ago – bulletproof” Kris Taylor, Head of Health, Safety & Well-being at Lanes Group

Safety is at the forefront of the business and Lanes has now created their own course for health and safety knowledge, tools and procedures, and competence and skills, to be suitable for their drainage engineers.

Requirement

On a day to day basis, drainage engineers solve the problem of wastewater removal in the safest way. Even under the challenging conditions in which they operate, Lanes aim to deliver the best possible environment for their teams to work in.

Sewer walks/inspections and confined space entry are key elements to the job of a drainage engineer.

Hazardous gases occur naturally in a drainage system which may be encountered during work being carried out. The enclosed environment of the sewer works means hazardous gases can accumulate and concentrations can increase significantly.

Approach

Hazardous gas sources typically found in drainage work can include leaks from underground tanks and pipes, and decomposition of organic substances in sewers. These can generate methane and/or hydrogen sulphide. Hydrogen sulphide is produced by anaerobic bacteria, and often gathers in pockets within the sewage. Disturbing the sewage, sediment or sludge can release the trapped gas.

Workers need a good understanding of the related atmospheric hazards as this is essential for the prevention of gas poisoning.

Photocredit: Lanes Group plc

Outcome and benefits

Lanes Group use Crowcon Tetra:3’s across 5 regional hubs with over 200 users. The T3s are  booked in and out of the depots by the crews to ensure all of the workforce have access to the detection equipment. The devices are fully loaded for hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide, oxygen and methane detection. They are an integral part of the safety equipment which Lanes employ and have been proven  to be extremely robustwhich is useful for pre-entry checks for sewer works and confined space entry.

Training in Safety

Lanes Utilities and Thames Water have acquired a 360° igloo projection theatre that has reinvented the usual training courses by allowing teams to instantly see and hear what it is like to be inside a sewer.

“The igloo delivers wraparound sound and vision, so wastewater engineers can be seemingly immersed in any scenario, no matter how potentially hazardous, without having to leave the training room.”

They will use the Igloo theatre to train teams working on its wastewater network maintenance contract for Thames Water. Lanes is the first water utilities contractor in the UK to use such a refined facility to train its staff, which is being co-funded by Thames Water Wastewater Networks.

Alongside the Igloo, Lanes also use approved training providers to help support them with their training of teams to ensure the highest quality of service.

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