Safety in Tunnel Construction
Tunnelling is a difficult, hazardous, and time-consuming process and the whole operation has to be done systematically so that safety is ensured at all times. Normally accidents in a tunnel occur under the following circumstances.
(a) Falling rocks
(b) During the loading and hauling of muck
(c) Poor handling of explosives
(d) During shaft operations
(e) Cramped working space
The following tips are suggested for preventing accidents during tunnelling operations.
(a) Equipment and tools should be in good working condition.
(b) Regular and detailed inspections should be carried out during tunnelling operations.
(c) Visual inspections should be done to detect seams and planes of weakness so as to avoid the falling of rocks.
(d) There should be provision of sufficient support by ensuring that tunnelling is done properly in order to avoid the collapsing of the tunnel as well as falling rocks.
(e) There should be provision of good lighting and non-slippery walkways, which partially help in relieving the strain of a cramped working space.
(f) Provisions should be made for the removal of extra debris and refuge as well as for good drainage in order to avoid accidents. Efforts should also be made to provide good ventilation.
(g) Telephone facilities should be provided, particularly inside the shaft and at other places in the tunnel, to ensure smooth and accident-free operations.
(h) Firefighting equipment should be provided at all key points.
(i) Safety sign boards should be provided at all key locations.
(j) All workers should be medically fit to work inside the tunnel and they should be examined periodically. Doctors and first aid facilities should be available at the site.
(k) Wearing of helmets by all workers employed in a tunnel should be made mandatory.