This informal CPD article, ‘What is a UXO risk assessment?’, was provided by Brimstone Site Investigation who are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) experts dedicated to the safe removal and disposal of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) across the United Kingdom and around the globe.
What is a UXO risk assessment?
When it comes to unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk mitigation, assessing the risk should be your first priority. A UXO risk assessment can determine the likelihood of unexploded ordnance being found on your site. Whether you’re making ground intrusions that are shallow, deep, onshore or offshore, it is important you take UXO into consideration.
It’s true that many parts of the UK are deemed low risk for unexploded ordnance contamination. However, when you consider the amount of aerial bombardment and military activity we’ve seen as a country, a UXO risk assessment is the only responsible move before getting started on any project that includes ground intrusions. Not only will a risk assessment help keep people safe, but it can prevent unexpected costs and delays later down the line.
Preliminary UXO risk assessment
Sometimes referred to as a stage 1 risk assessment, a preliminary UXO risk assessment is a qualitative screening exercise to assess the likelihood of discovering UXO on your site. Completed by experienced researchers, the assessment will look at any military activity on or near your land. This information is used to assess the UXO risk on site and will result in a risk rating and any recommended further action being reported back to you. A preliminary UXO risk assessment can usually be produced within a matter of days, making it one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of mitigating UXO risk on your site.
Detailed UXO risk assessment
If your site is on former military land or your preliminary UXO risk assessment indicates some areas of concern, you will need a detailed UXO risk assessment. This is sometimes referred to as a stage 2 risk assessment. This type of risk assessment involves using additional sources of information to look at your site in more detail. The researchers will look at the range of ways World War 1 and World War 2 actions could have led to UXO contamination on your site. They will consider human factors, the impacts of modern methods of construction, estimated bomb penetration depths, the type of UXO contamination and more to calculate the likelihood of you encountering UXO on your site.
One benefit of this type of risk assessment is it enables the zoning of your site. Some areas of your site may have higher risks than others, meaning only certain areas will require further investigation. This saves time and helps to reduce your overall costs. As these risk assessments are more detailed, they take a little longer to produce. It will usually take between 2-4 weeks to produce this assessment; however, this will depend on the size and location of your site.
What happens next?
Your risk assessment will provide you with a risk rating of either low, moderate or high. It will also recommend any further action, which could be follow-up services such as a UXO survey or ground investigation.
If your site is deemed to be low risk, you might not need to do anything else! You can then carry on with the peace of mind that your operatives are safe, and your project can continue to the next stage.
We hope you found this article helpful. For more information from Brimstone Site Investigation, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.