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AGC and Partners Receive Grant for Tunnel Safety

To improve tunnel safety and to help tunnel contractors reduce the amount of time spent doing basic jobsite safety orientations AGC and its partners applied for and received a grant from L&I to produce a new Hazard Orientation & Labor Education (HOLE) video project for underground construction.

The goal of the project is to produce a video series targeting the main exposures and hazards in projects using tunnel boring machines (TBM) said Mandi Kime AGC Safety Director and project manager for the grant. There are no resources of this nature on the market today and with the large number of TBM projects projected for the Pacific Northwest in the near future there is a natural fit for a video series with realistic demonstrations of the type of tunneling that occurs here.

Kime notes that the intended audiences for the video series are TBM project craft workers and visitors. The HOLE video will give them the basic overview of what to expect in a tunnel what to look out for what procedures are in place for their safety and what to do in an emergency she said. This will save time for the contractor and provide clear and consistent messages for every visitor.

AGCs partners on the project include Sound Transit Integrity Video Productions Laborer’s Union & Training Trust DOSH WSDOT UW and Seattle Fire Department. Only nine out of 31 grants were awarded this year noted Anita Johnson Senior Construction Safety Specialist for Sound Transit. We are ecstatic that we beat those odds!

Companies that wrote letters in support of the grant application include Global Diving & Salvage Ballard Diving & Salvage JayDee Contractors Traylor Brothers Frank Coluccio Construction Barnard Construction and James W. Fowler Co.

The need for improved tunnel safety is apparent: Private-sector mining fatalities were up 74 percent in 2010 with an increase from 99 cases in 2009 to 172 cases in 2010. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) NAICS Code 23799 which includes underground construction experiences an average of 17 fatalities per year and has an increasing recordable incident rate.

Kime said the goals of the $156000 grant are to:

• Increase worker awareness of underground construction risks;

• Reduce incidents in underground construction;

• Empower workers with knowledge on underground workplace hazards relative protection measures and real-life visual imagery to make training more impactful;

• Promote and maintain the physical mental and social well-being of workers in underground construction.

The video series is expected to be available in early 2013. For more information contact Mandi Kime 206-284-0061.

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