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Dummy diver tests safety procedures on the Thames

SITE bosses at Conway threw a dummy construction worker into the River Thames last week to test safety procedures at the firm's refurbishment project on Chelsea Bridge.

None of the workers were told about the drill in order to recreate a realistic search and rescue mission.

Operatives working on the bridge, including scaffolders and electricians, had to evacuate the site within three minutes while a safety boat rushed to the rescue the 'man' drowning in the water.

Site manager Kent Baxter said: 'Health and safety is very important to us. We have carried out similar procedures like this when we did the Westminster Bridge fascia replacement two years ago. We always get the body out of the water within three minutes.' The company has been carrying out a £1 million refurbishment project on the Chelsea Bridge as part of a 10-year contract to maintain all the bridges in London.

Mouchel Parkman is the engineer working with Conway on upgrading the bridge for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council.

Scaffolder Darren Collins, who works on the site, said: 'This exercise certainly makes me feel safer while working near the river.'