Full-scale exercise at the Soletanche Bachy Fondations Spéciales worksite in Le Havre

After mobilising three exceptional rigs and a team of experts to carry out this large-scale project with particularly demanding contractual requirements, over a period of more than three months, the SBFS’s Le Havre worksite took part in two tests under real emergency conditions. The most impressive took place in October, with the GRIMP (Group for Reconnaissance and Intervention in Perilous Environments) section of the Le Havre fire service.


The first exercise was held in September 2020, with a fairly conventional set-up. It involved evacuating an unwell employee from the basket of an aerial lift at a height of 10m (basket in working position at the time the employee became unwell).

The test went very well and it took 15 minutes for our colleague to be rescued and evacuated.

The second test took place in October. This time, the scenario involved one of the Soletanche Bachy Fondations Spéciales employees becoming “stuck” in the lift of the Fundex F-5000 “Barbara” at a height of more than 50m. The exercise involved simulating a mechanical and electrical failure of the rig during a maintenance operation (greasing the masthead pulleys).

Given the exceptional height, only the GRIMP fire-fighters could respond to rescue our employee. The simulation also aimed to obtain the fire-fighters’ feedback on a call-out involving this rig, which is the largest in the world.

The exercise went very well. The fire-fighters enjoyed climbing the rig and our employee experienced a memorable abseiling descent of Barbara’s mast! We will now receive valuable feedback to enable us to specify evacuation methods under these conditions. Given the lengths of time involved, if an employee is taken ill, the use of a helicopter could prove unavoidable as the fire-fighters’ pods cannot be used at those heights.

Thank you again to the Le Havre fire-fighters for their time and participation in this continuous improvement exercise.

Carrying out emergency exercises and scenarios is an integral part of the Soletanche Bachy group’s prevention approach. In the case of an emergency on the ground, our teams need to be responsive, clear-headed and calm, and that means practising this type of exercise so that everyone knows exactly what to do.

#Safety is our priority