The Royal Ordnance Factory
Bridgend South Wales
 
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Accidents

The ordnance business is in fact one the most dangerous, accidents were few, but when these occurred, the consequences were devastating.

The Royal Ordnance Factories had set up well-defined safety procedures called “General Safety Directives” (G.S.D’s) these covered every aspect of ordnance activity with clearly defined rules, regulation, and limits pertaining to the site operation.

When occasionally things did go wrong workers paid a heavy price often losing limbs or their lives as a consequence, although it is emphasised that everything was done to ensure safe working practices. (See Appendix 5)

Each section/shop had their own first aider, there was a fully staffed medical section on call 24 hours of each day, plus the back-up of the local hospital should the need arise.

In its short history the Bridgend Royal Ordnance Factory had a number of accidents where workers lost their lives or limbs but only one major incident has been documented when on the 18 th of May 1941 there was an explosion involving detonators. (See "Explosion" in the "Accidents" chapter)

This was a major event that required a full investigation by a board of enquiry to ascertain the cause, and put in place actions to prevent further accidents. (See reference section SUPP5/1124.)

 

Protection against Gas attack was also provided with detailed information on the most likely gases to use against the factory, all workers were given gas masks and instruction on what to do in a gas attack. (See detail in the Bridgend Reference Library ~ ROF folder ~ Official ROF Guidance on the detection of gases most likely to be used in WAR).

 

Full training was given to senior employees such as Foreman, and overseers. (This has been detailed in a notebook compiled by the late Mary Barrington, Senior Overseer HE, which is now held by her sister Gladys Brown – this details not only the symptoms but also the first aid action to be taken). Each Foreman and overseer/overlooker had to pass a detailed course in safety procedures prior to their appointment.

 

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