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As indicated previously, ECI has been in the process of revising its corporate Safety Program Manual to reflect the evolution of our safety program.
Two main aspects of ECI’s program include:
Behavioral Based Safety – The effect of a worker’s behavior on safety. Behavioral issues may include complacency, distractions, exhaustion, and overconfidence. ECI’s focus to address the behavior effect on safety is primarily:
a) the management of these conditions (recognize, contain, and respond to behavioral issues), and
b) to develop and maintain a corporate culture focused on safety and appreciation of practical engineering principles related to safety.
Compliance Based Safety – Working within Safety Regulations specific to the type of work. On ECI jobsites, these regulations typically include OSHA, FRA, MSHA, and FMCSA. ECI’s focus for achieving compliance based safety is to provide the workers with appropriate training and resources to perform a risk assessment to be safe and compliant.
We look forward to the rollout of the new ECI Safety Program Manual which will be available on our website.
After a significant delay, winter is finally here and it’s time to be prepared for protection against cold stress injuries.
Cold stress injuries can happen at many times of year but is obviously more of a concern now that the weather has turned significantly colder. We need to be aware of and protect ourselves from both frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite (cdc.gov website):
- Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing.
- Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes.
- Seek medical care if you think you have frostbite.
More information: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/frostbite.asp
Hypothermia (from cdc.gov website):
- When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced.
- Low body temperature may make you unable to think clearly or move well.
- You may not know you have hypothermia.
- If your temperature is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.
More information: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.asp
Rigging of all types shall be visually inspected by the user or designated person for each shift the rigging is to be used (per ASME B30.9, the recognized standard for rigging).
The inspector is to look for the following:
- Distorted, Damaged, or Worn Links
- Distorted, Damaged, or Worn Hooks/Rings/etc.
Wire Rope Cable:
- Crushed or Kinked
- Broken Strands
- Bird Caging
- Damaged Splices
- Burns, Melting, or Charring of any part of the sling
- Holes, Tears, Cuts, or Snags
- Broken or Worn Stitching in Load Bearing Splices
- Excessive Abrasive Wear
The waters of the Manchester Brook have been flowing through the new 32-ft-wide Ryegate Culvert since May. And just recently, the temporary bridges for US Route 5 and the Washington County Railroad were removed and traffic was back to the final highway and railroad alignments. The new 32-ft-wide concrete arch, with lengths of 144 and 128 feet and a 50-ft-long open area between them, replaces an old undersized collapsing culvert. The work was completed over a period of nearly 2 years and without closing US Route 5 and with only limited rail shutdowns during non-traffic periods.
ECI self-performed nearly every aspect of this complex heavy civil project including earthwork, foundation and sheet piling, tiebacks and soil nails, temporary bridges, concrete, rail work, paving, horizontal directional drilling, quality control program, and project management.
This project also includes many firsts for ECI:
- ECI’s first design-build (D-B) transportation project – Our client was the Vermont Agency of Transportation. ECI was the first Vermont contractor to serve as a lead for a VTrans D-B project. And, Ryegate was just the 6th D-B project for VTrans.
- ECI’s first and second temporary bridge launches, both of which used the crane-assist method – The 80-ft-long highway bridge was unique for its 7% grade and on a skewed alignment to the excavation which posed challenges during installation and relative to maintenance. The 70-ft-long railroad bridge was also unique because of the limited access to the work site from the rail. ECI deployed the pre-assembled railroad bridge using rail car “trucks” which were incorporated into the launch.
- ECI’s deepest excavation – And, likely the deepest braced excavation in soil ever attempted in Vermont with a final depth of 70 feet below the railroad and 65 feet below US Route 5. The excavation was supported by interlocking steel sheet piles and supplemented with soldier piles and wood lagging in certain areas. ECI installed over 700 tiebacks and soil nails for bracing.
- ECI’s most complex concrete project – The culvert project involved over 2,400 cy of concrete, designed for a 100 year service life. The unique complexity was the 32-ft arch span formed and poured using a Doka form system. The 2.5-ft-thick wingwalls reached a height of 27.5 feet above their footings and were accomplished in a single pour each. Reinforcing steel was both uncoated and dual coating, depending upon its location. The headwall and wingwalls were formed using a liner to provide a more aesthetic appearance.
- ECI’s most complex QA/QC Program – As the design-build contractor, ECI also performed its own field quality control on all aspects of the work. The QA was performed by Greenman-Pederson, a consultant to ECI. The QA/QC aspect of design-build transportation projects are highly involved systematic programs developed and executed by the D-B Team to the standards established by VTrans and FHWA .
- ECI’s first use of an automated robotic total station for monitoring geotechncial settlement points – The system automatically took daily optical survey measurements on prisms mounted on different features of the excavation support system, temporary bridges, embankments, and completed concrete work. The system was set up to provide automatic email reports to ECI if movements exceeded anticipated movement levels.
ECI’s design partners (Dubois & King of Randolph, VT and Boscardin Consulting of Amherst, MA) designed the permanent work. Boscardin Consulting and ECI jointly, with input from GEI Consultants (Winchester, MA), designed the temporary excavation support system. Other D-B Team members included EIV Technical Services as the Environmental Compliance Officer and Francine Perkins as the Public Relations Officer.
Synthetic Slings are useful in a variety of lifting projects where the slings can be protected from hot work, excessive heat, caustic environments, and abrasive surfaces. Basic polyester and nylon web slings for small to medium lifts are relatively inexpensive and are useful in a variety of applications. Heavy lifts often use a specialty synthetic, such as the Twin-Path slings with a proprietary K-Spec yarn core. The Twin-Path slings are available in vertical capacities ranging from 10,000 lb to 600,000 lbs! Synthetic slings are also available in a variety of lengths, capacities, coverings, and eyelet styles.
The following link is good reference for the Twin-Path Slings: http://www.slingmax.com/twin-path_use_and_care.htm
For a general review of Synthetic Sling Inspection, check out our May 31, 2012 Maintenance Tip: http://www.engineersconstruction.com/employee/fleet-maintenance-tips/maintenance-tip-inspecting-synthetic-web-slings/
And remember to inspect the sling prior to each lift.
New confined space regulations go into affect on August 3rd. These changes bring the construction regulations into line with the general industry regulations.
For several years, ECI has been practicing these more restrictive rules that are meant to better protect the worker from asphyxiation and exposure to hazardous atmospheres.
This link is to the new OSHA confined space regulations for construction:
Following on our excavation theme, this week are are focusing on the required slope for trenches and excavations. The standards for excavation slopes are set by OSHA:
In general, the standard trench/excavation slope should be 1.5H:1.0V, which is the steepest slope allowed for Type C soil conditions. Type A and B soils would justify using steeper slopes. However, these soils involve a greater level of attention to changes in soil conditions and documentation of those conditions. At ECI, we require that the Safety Department be consulted whenever Type A or B soils are used as a basis for selecting a steeper than 1.5H:1.0V slope.
Another consideration is that benching is not allowed for Type C soils since vertical faces are not stable.
Stu King has retired from ECI after 20 years of service as our Safety Director. Stu’s effort has enabled ECI to become Vermont’s leading heavy civil contractor with extensive capabilities on complex projects. Stu has helped keep our workers safe against hazards such as traffic, deep excavations, live electrical substations, and various other conditions on heavy civil projects.
Stu expects to return to some part-time duty as a safety officer next construction season. In the meantime, he plans to enjoy his retirement with his wife Sheryl in Florida. We also expect to see Stu later this winter as he enjoys snowmobiling with this friends.
Stu is replaced by Matt Orszulak, ECI’s safety officer since 2010. Matt is a 2005 graduate of Safety Studies from Keene State College.
Construction in roadways pose a hazard to the travelling public and the traffic poses a hazard to the construction worker. Both concerns need to be addressed in a work plan for any operations along or within an active roadway. Our work within a roadway might range from the unloading of a truck where proper temporary signage, cones, PPE, and qualified worker might be necessary, to a full construction zone traffic control package designed and submitted to the appropriate highway jurisdiction for review.
Our specific responsibilities include:
- Preparing a work plan to address the safety of all parties.
- Working with the local, county (in NY), or state highway department in coordinating, scheduling, and implementing their standard traffic control requirements.
- Implementing all necessary PPE to make the workers visible for the work conditions.
- Providing qualified flag persons or uniformed traffic officers.
- Providing standard warning devices like stop/slow paddles, cones, barrels, and appropriate signage.
- Proper maintenance of the warning devices, including resetting of knocked over cones/barrels, removal of a flag person sign when the flag person is not present, an moving of the warning devices as the project moves.
The procedures for any activity on a roadway work zone are specifically detailed in various documents from the state/county/municipal highway authorities, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and OSHA.
http://www.aot.state.vt.us/caddhelp/DownLoad/Standards/Standards.htm (E-series drawings deal with traffic control)
Working in energized substations involves special hazards that require the following considerations:
- Job-Specific Daily Tailboard hazard assessment and risk mitigation analysis.
- Special personal protective equipment such as Fire Retardant (FR) clothing.
- Extensive training on the hazards and safety protocol at the substation.
- Clearly posted emergency call numbers including specific site address.
- Detailed work plans to isolate our work and operations from the high voltage hazards.
- Demarcation of hazardous areas and overhead lines.
- Special 1st Aid Equipment such as an AED and burn blanket.
- Visual confirmation of locked-out switches and grounded conductors.
- Positive measures to assure that minimum clearances are maintained for equipment and people.
And of don’t forget the STAR protocol: