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Rescue Cover for the A52 Clifton Bridge Repairs

MRS Training & Rescue's Team providing rescue cover for the A52 bridge

MRS Training & Rescue is proud to be working with Balvac on this Highways England scheme – providing rescue cover for the repair works being undertaken on the A52 Clifton Bridge in Nottingham.

We have been rescuing people from mines and other hazardous environments for over 115 years. This history and experience makes us perfect for this project – especially as the conditions inside the bridge are described as being akin to working in a mine, with little light, high temperatures and humidity.

MRS Teams inspecting the bridgeFrom the Beginning

We have been part of this project from the very beginning – initially providing confined space rescue cover when the bridge was first being inspected. Following the initial inspection of the bridge – we provided a three person rescue cover team for the repairs inside the bridge, inspections and high-pressure water cleaning.

The three person rescue team consists:

  • 1 Top Person – responsible for managing entry and exit into the confined bridge space and logging the environmental atmosphere within the bridge
  • 2 Team Members – who provide confined space, first aid and working from height support in the event of an emergency


Bridges – Confined Spaces

The A52 Clifton Bridge is like many bridges in the UK, hollow inside with lots of different entry and exit points, with access being through hatches built into the structure of the bridge itself. Many of the spaces within the bridge are very ‘tight’ to work. This and the nature of the work within the areas means there can be a risk of oxygen deficiency. This makes the inside of the bridge a high risk confined space.

Rescue Cover for Bridges – A Typical Day Inspecting scaffolding to ensure it is safe for use

A typical day providing confined space rescue cover typically includes:

  • Attending a briefing from the main contractor– which all onsite partners attend – in which temperature, weather, wind direction, recent issues, work activities, daily tasks planned, visits schedules etc. are discussed.
  • Inspecting scaffolding to ensure it is safe for use – and then opening the portals of the bridge being worked on that day. We are the key holders of the bridge and as part of the opening process we:
    • Complete pre-entry gas checks
    • Check the customer’s escape breathing apparatus
    • Check our rescue kit
    • Check the rescue team are ready to respond to an emergency immediately
  • We then ensure adequate ventilation of the confined space before allowing any workers to enter.
  • Anyone entering the confined space within the bridge has to sign the Permit to Work which we hold – as part of this process we also ensure all workers are fit and well to work in the space and have the required environmental monitors and escape breathing apparatus with them.
  • We perform regular gas checks throughout the day and ensure the atmosphere is continually monitored. We are also in constant communication with all workers in the confined space – both verbal and radio contact.
  • And we regularly check works in and out of the confined spaces throughout the day and manage the confined spaces for the customer.
  • We also manage and monitor all work at height and have rescue arrangements in place – as well as scaffolding there is often the need to use a mobile elevated working platform (MEWP) on site.
  • We compliment the contractors own first aid provision on site – all our team carry first aid equipment with them so they can give immediate first aid if required. If more is needed, they can provide secondary first aid treatment at our emergency vehicles which are fully equipped with an AED machine, oxygen and Entonox.
  • We also provide ongoing health and safety advice to the customer, as and when required. We can offer insight in the health and safety arena, which we are exposed to on a day-to-day basis and bring the proactive leadership that can implement change where appropriate.
  • At the end of each day, we lock up the portals and return the keys to the permit holder.


All our technical rescue operatives have extensive hands-on experience of working in high-risk environments – including bridges – this allowed us to hit the ground running, from day one. We have provided support the length and breadth of the country, including at the Tinsley Viaduct, Wroxham Bridge and Framwellgate Bridge.

We provide rescue services nationally and internationally, with teams located across the UK at 7 training centres. We have over 60 vehicles in our fleet – all of which are designed for rapid response to a range of emergencies – including confined space, working at height and mine rescues.

Our rapid response rescue vehicles are fully equippedOur rapid response rescue vehicles hold all the equipment required to respond to a range of foreseeable incidents. We always liaise with customers to make sure the site specific requirements are captured as part of the site/job-specific risk and method statements. As well as being situated close to work being conducted, our Technical Services Vehicle offers a space to act as an immediate response treatment centre for emergencies.The site is also useful as a place for contractors to be briefed on the confined space entry requirements and associated rescue arrangements.

For many of our customers, it has acted as a place to consolidate the risk and method statements, and hold permits relating to the entry of the confined space. It offers a working space for briefing contractors and rescue teams, as well as being situated as closely as possible to the site of the outage.  It can also act as an immediate response treatment centre for a range of emergencies.

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