Major incidents:
On the scene

We now have the Incident Support Unit safely to the scene. They have ascertained the nature of the problem with the emergency services officers on site (this could be fire service as well as the Police where spillages are involved), and they will not assume that it is paint, as it could be a chemical spillage.

Initial action if it is not already done (considering it takes longer for a bulky fire service vehicle to arrive on site) is to contain the incident. All gullies in the vicinity that have been or are likely to be contaminated with paint will be dammed to prevent further contamination. This can be done with soil from the verge, or sacks of absorbent granules that are carried in the Incident Support Units. The carriageway will be covered in paint, so if the traffic hasn't been halted by the Police, then on request the Police will stop the traffic while absorbent granules are applied to the surface to prevent further paint "tracking" along the road.

Once the Client Supervisor is safely on site and logged in (possibly after opening any trigger signs that may be applicable), he then becomes the contact point for all the emergency services. On the way to the scene he will have noted the length of the queues. The HA always want to know the extent of the queues so that they can answer queries or complaints from members of the public, government ministers or the media knowing the full extent of the problems.

The HA have criteria for "Reportable Incidents" where they require extensive information, which include:

  1. Collisions involving fatalities, several serious injuries, or ten or more vehicles.
  2. Crossover RTA's where one or more vehicles cross from one carriageway to another.
  3. RTA's that involve passenger coaches, school mini-buses, or PSV's that are likely to result in fatal or serious injuries.
  4. Serious incidents involving dangerous substances (chemicals, petrol, radioactive materials etc).
  5. RTA's involving serious structural damage (to bridges, gantries etc) necessitating road closures.
  6. Road closures due to accidents, security alerts, weather or road conditions or other incidents which will cause major congestion.
  7. Fatal accidents within roadworks.
  8. Other incidents that are likely to attract considerable media attention.

When the Client Supervisor arrives on site, after introducing himself and logging in, he will get a full update from the respective emergency services. The usual scenario is the "Officer Dealing" takes him to the Senior Police officer on site, who then calls over the Senior Fire Officer, and a full update takes place between all parties. The Supervisor then checks what the Incident Support Unit has done so far, and if they have had any update on ETA's etc. Depending on the emergency services and Incident Support Unit updates, he will then contact the Network Control Centre to give and receive updates. The Police and fire service have their roles to play at the scene, and are trained as such, but they are not highway engineers, so an engineering assessment is carried out by the Client Supervisor at the earliest opportunity.

While he is carrying out this initial assessment, lots of photos are being taken by the Supervisor and lots of words are being spoken into the Dictaphone: this is a major incident, so lots of questions are going to be asked by the HA, Police, Environment Agency, managers of both Client and Term Maintenance Contractor, insurers (in the future) and others.

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Published25 February 2017

Last updated25 February 2017