Safety violation fine for East Side Access JV Apr 2012
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
- The general contractor on New York's East Side Access Project has been cited with 11 alleged serious violations of safety standards and a fine of US$48,000.
East Side Access Project tunnel alignment
- An incident on October 15, 2011, in which two men were injured by a runaway rail car, happened 33 days before another fatal accident when a worker was killed by a chunk of green shotcrete falling from a drill+blast track junction enlargement operation on the TBM running tunnels contract.
- Dragados USA-Judlau JV, which is carrying out $1.15 billion of hard rock tunneling and station excavation work for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's $7.3 billion project, has 15 days to contest the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) findings.
- OSHA's Manhattan Area Office opened an inspection following the October 15 incident when the runaway rail car struck an aerial lift and injured two workers in it.
- A statement by OHSA says it found that the wheels of the rail car had not been chocked, and a safety chain had not been attached to prevent the car from rolling away while it was being disconnected from the rest of the train. As a result, employees working further down the track were exposed to being struck by the runaway car.
- Additionally, according to OHSA, the workers in the aerial lift lacked a radio or watchperson to warn them of the runaway rail car approaching, and the rail car lacked lights that might have alerted them.
Hard rock run into Grand Central Station
- "Underground construction is essential but dangerous work," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Area Director in Manhattan. "It is also essential that effective worker safeguards are in place and in use at all times. That was not the case here. This incident would have been avoided if the employer had followed proper safety procedures, inspected for and corrected deficiencies, and provided adequate training to employees."
- The inspection identified additional hazards involving unsecured compressed gas cylinders; damaged guardrails on the aerial lift; unprotected steel reinforcement rods sticking out of the tunnel invert and walls;, ungrounded electrical cords; a damaged ladder cage; and the employer's failure to train employees in the recognition and avoidance of tunneling hazards.
- A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Proposed fines total $48,000. The Dragados-Judlau JV has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
- In the fatal November 17, 2011 incident, 26-year-old tunnel worker Michael O'Brien lost his life when he was struck by the chunk of green shotcrete measuring about 4ft2 and 8in thick. A source told TunnelTalk at the time that the shotcrete in question had been applied in the previous half hour.
- Tunnel worker loses life in New York - TunnelTalk, November 2011
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