Exploding Pavements

3rd May 2013

One might have thought that your risk register covered everything, but what about exploding pavements? One man was rather taken by surprise when walking past a shop, as the pavement exploded where he had just been walking. Those of you in London may have read about this in the Evening Standard, but otherwise it did not make the news.

You can imagine the consternation that this might cause if it occurred outside your office. It turns out that the cause was some power cables under the pavement had exploded.

A similar problem occurred to a client of mine in the Netherlands. The exploding cables also took out the power to their offices and was immediately attended by the emergency services. Colleagues across the street looked on, not knowing what had occurred, but knowing that there was a major emergency right outside the nursery looking after their children. You can imagine their concerns as they worried about an explosion, and possible terrorism, right by their pre-school children. Of course, they were re-assured when they discovered the true cause.

So what do we learn? One: power failures might be spectacular and could even be life threatening. Two: communication to interested parties is important from the outset.