After a major industrial accident, you may be tempted to blame your employer for your injury. Your work is inherently dangerous, but the construction company should have been able to put proper safety procedures in place—especially when involving underground drilling. But, is the construction company really liable, or did they do everything they could to prevent the accident?
Special Conditions for Drilling and Blasting Underground in New Jersey
Before any drilling operation may take place on an underground construction site, a competent person must make a full inspection of all of the following:
- Drilling equipment – An appointed person must inspect the drills and associated equipment, as well as the drilling area, to detect and correct any hazards before drilling begins. Employees must also be reminded that they are not allowed on a drill mast when a drill bit is in operation.
- Air quality – Both air flow and air quality in underground work areas must be monitored constantly during any work that is likely to produce dust, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases. This may include using wet drilling, vacuum collectors, and water mix spray to control dust created by concrete or rock drilling. In addition, the ventilation systems must exhaust any smoke fumes to the outside atmosphere when operations are complete.
- Jumbo deck safety – Before drilling takes place, workers should be reminded of safety precautions on jumbo decks, including:
- Warning employees working below the decks when drilling is about to start.
- Ensuring that a mechanical lift is present on the top deck to lift unwieldy or heavy items.
- Employees assisting the operator may only ride on the jumbo if it has adequate seating for each passenger.
- Jumbo decks over 10 feet high must have guardrails on all open sides.
- All jumbo decks and stair treads should be treated to be slip-resistant and properly secured.
Accidents on drilling sites can take place even after the drilling has been completed. For this reason, it is important that an appointed person continues to check the air quality in the tunnel and ensure that no structures have been compromised or loosened during the drilling. If the tunnel needs repair, only those employees actively performing the repairs should be allowed underground until the area passes inspection.
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