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UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE KILLS EXCAVATOR DRIVER

Explosion on site in Germany leaves one dead and 13 injured

It has been reported that a construction project excavator operator has died and 13 others injured after World War II-era bomb exploded in Euskirchen, Germany

The blast from the explosion ‘blew out’ nearby house and car windows and ‘ripped off’ roof tiles. The pressure wave could be felt several kilometres away.

Local police said:

“During earth works an excavator hit a World War II bomb which exploded. There was a huge blast wave. In the vicinity of the accident site and surrounding streets, home windows shattered and garage doors were pushed in”

 The ground below many Germany cities still contains unexploded ordnance dropped by Allied and Soviet forces in the World War II, but most is safely defused when found.

Guidance on unexploded ordnance (UXO)

A guide (2009) for the UK construction industry has been published by CIRIA. The document sets out a “defined process for the management of risks associated with UXO from WWI and WWII aerial bombardment”. The content includes what to expect from a UXO specialist.

This guidance is said to help “clients to fulfill their legal duty under CDM2007 to provide designers and contractors with project specific health and safety information needed to identify hazards and risks associated with the design and construction work”.

The possibility of UXO being encountered on a site falls within the category of a potentially significant risk, and it should be addressed as early as possible in the lifecycle of a project.

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