2020-12-16 6:33

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Cardiff North West Delivery Office Flooded Extensively During Weekend Storms

Royal Mail delivery offices and BT Exchanges area at risk of flooding in areas hit by severe storms, unless precautions are taken whenever the Met Office issues a severe weather warning.

An example of what can happen when buildings and vehicle parking areas are flooded can be seen in the photograph taken following Storm Dennis this weekend after the River Taff burst its banks in Cardiff

What can clearly be seen is extensive property and vehicle fleet damage, which will require urgent attention ‎ to clean up and decontaminate the Delivery Office once the flood water has receded in order to reinstate the building back to an acceptable standard.

This morning, CWU Area Health and Safety Representative Mark Roach carried out an inspection this morning and there’s no doubt that the Unit will be in need of urgent concerted assistance and attention.

Dave Joyce, CWU’s National Health, Safety and Environment Officer has pointed out that ‘the Floor of the Unit will be no doubt saturated with the remnants of contaminated flood water – River Water mixed with sewage and no doubt it will stink as with previous floods.’

He added, that ‘Equipment such as Sorting Frames, furniture, Perstop Trays and York Containers etc will need decontamination.’

Writing to Royal Mail’s Martin Gafsen Group Director of Property & Facilities Solutions this morning Dave made clear the seriousness of the flooding not only in terms of property and fleet damage, but also to the health risks to CWUJ members and staff from the flood water which is not mere rain water:

“We have concerns far more serious than simply the mess that surrounds us in the DO which is bad enough but concerns amongst staff centre on bacteria and harmful viruses from the flood water which may spread and possibly cause health problems.

We need to avoid allergic reactions or the spread of bacteria and viruses. I’m sure that the specialist cleaning/decontamination contractors teams will address this once your team have engaged them.

We want to ensure the flood water, possibly sewage contaminated clean-up, is as straightforward, thorough and as stress-free as possible.”

He reminded Royal Mail that immediate action required to ensure no health risks necessitates,
“…staff stay away from the DO any areas that may still be contaminated with flood water until dried and the clean-up is completed. A golden rule for outdoor staff is not to enter flood water areas even with protective attire.”

Dave also listed a great number of action points required for effective remedial action:

  • ensure there’s no risk of cross-contamination in the staff welfare areas, changing, wash and locker rooms.
  • Specialist cleaning contractors are utilised in the DO
  • Engineers will need to ensure that no electricity supply circuits and supply points remain hazardous due to water ingress.
  • Employment of a flooring contractor to repair, re-cover or relay any unsafe, unfit for purpose floor covering and make good any damage to the building fabric.
  • Salvageable items will need thorough cleaning and disinfecting and decontaminated to ensure they no longer pose a health risk.
  • Unsalvageable items need to be removed and disposed of entirely without delay and not left on the premises with the potential to cause ongoing problems.
  • The Heating System will need to be checked as floods can damage the Boiler beyond repair. Temporary heating may need to be installed.

Dave also made it clear in his letter that it is vitally important that a joint pre-reoccupation health and safety inspectionand risk assessment of the site and yard takes place as a matter of importance prior to requiring the staff to reoccupy and recommence operations within the building.

He added:

“….from my point of view, a legal requirement, in order to be compliant, that a health and safety inspection takes place to ensure the building is fit for purpose and to jointly determine further remedial actions and repairs that may be necessary in the short, medium and long-term.”

He concluded his letter:

“We must ensure the office is suitable to re-open, with the health and safety of those returning to the unit our primary consideration.” 

Source: CWU / Dave Joyce



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