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Engineers ‘on tour’ in Afghanistan

11 August 2011

PHS Compliance has deployed 35 engineers to Afghanistan in August on a 26 week contract for UK and US forces. The team will be stationed within Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), where they will be conducting fixed wire electrical safety test and repair work.

Orientation was essential for the PHS Compliance team and the group - comprising 33 men and two women - visited Dubai on route to Afghanistan for a week of intensive training and a battery of medical examinations. This orientation week also allowed the engineers to begin to acclimatise to the heat in the Middle East, with the temperatures in Afghanistan set to climb to 56 degrees Celsius by mid summer.

First stop for the team was Kandahar Airbase; the gateway to the war in Afghanistan. This site is home to 15,000 troops from all over the world and houses a billion pounds worth of military hardware. The base is a busy community in the middle of the desert, with all the facilities required to support the forces working there, including essential services such as electricity.

Triumphant at the award of such an extreme and challenging contract, managing director of PHS Compliance, Paul Caddick commented: “We are both honoured and excited to have been chosen for our expertise and for the confidence that has been placed in our highly skilled team. In terms of safety for them, we have been assured that no stone has been left unturned to ensure their wellbeing in this volatile country. Preparation for delivery on this contract has been detailed and careful: We selected 35 top engineers from our 500 strong workforce from a shortlist that volunteered for this project. They were all aware of the seriousness of the situation and the hostile nature of the environment, yet keen to take this responsibility to support the safety of the Armed Forces and the integrity of electrical installations that they rely upon. We are extremely proud of them all.”

John Gregory leads the team in Afghanistan for PHS Compliance, guiding them technically and overseeing their welfare during the six month tour. In his care, one 24-year-old engineer on the team, Richard Fearnside explained: “During our first day on site the rocket attack alarm sounded and we all hit the deck. This is standard training procedure but you don’t realise the severity of it until it actually happens. That was our first experience of what life will be like for the next few months.”

According to other PHS engineers the practical challenges on site are considerable, with the dust and heat making working conditions energy sapping. The work that the team will be doing involves electrical test and inspection – concentrating on the safe operational state of circuits installed throughout the various FOBs. Once these tests are done the team will then conduct any remedial repair work that is required to ensure that the sites are electrically ‘Satisfactory’ and compliant to BS7671: 2008.

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