January 20, 2019

A Culture of Safety #ThinkSafety

Share Your Safety Story: Staying safe when space gets tight

One of the final tasks in buttoning up the Contract E joint venture in New Haven this fall was entirely invisible to the monitoring public. It happened in the “sandwich” between bridge decking and the concrete substructure supporting it.

Temporary drainage lines, running deep inside interconnected concrete chambers beneath the new surface of I-95 needed to be cut out and removed. On two separate occasions that lasted three to four days each, men crawled through access ways into and across the chambers, carrying their power equipment to the outer bridges of the bridge where the drainage lines sat.

Work that was full of potential dangers went off efficiently and without a hitch.

O&G Safety Manager Mark Murdock, who directed the safety operation, credits the success in large part to the exhaustive groundwork laid before any work began.

“Pre-planning was huge,” says Murdock. It involved not only the men who would do the work but also project management led by Superintendent Bob Nardi and Foreman Dwain Suminski, the safety team and an outside trainer who shared his expertise on confined space awareness. First responders from the City of New Haven were included in the pre-planning. Stationed at the bridge when work was underway, they would be immediately available in the event of an emergency.

“For the complexity and all the moving parts it ran very smoothly,” says Murdock.