Are your preliminary UXO risk assessments really addressing the hazard on your site?

Prelim-Flow-Chart-7-300x242We have noticed a trend amongst some UXO specialists to recommend costly risk mitigation off the back of a preliminary UXO risk assessment. This is contrary to both the available industry guidance and industry good practice with the consequences being excessive costs for unnecessary risk mitigation work and the potential to increase the actual risk posed to workers on a site.

The preliminary risk assessment stage should be used to identify whether there is likely to be a potential source of UXO on the site.  If there is, then a detailed understanding of the hazard should be obtained through a detailed risk assessment.

A detailed assessment can not only confirm the most likely type of UXO hazard and its location but, more importantly, when a hazard is not actually present.  A preliminary assessment may identify a potential for a UXO hazard to be present on a site but this can often be discounted through more thorough research, thus removing the requirement for expensive risk mitigation projects.

Unfortunately, we have seen many instances where UXO specialists have recommended that developers bypass the detailed risk assessment stage altogether, incurring potentially unnecessary costs and creating an unsafe working environment by failing to properly understand the UXO hazard.

As such, developers need to be aware of these potential shortcomings to ensure that both the financial viability of their project, and the safety of their workers, is not compromised.  This issue is explored in greater depth in our recent discussion paper on UXO risk assessments, which can be downloaded here.