In New York, tunneling underground is not uncommon. From transportation to sewers and construction projects, there are many different reasons that require underground work. This work can be extremely dangerous and requires special protections for workers.
Whenever the earth is moved, workers are placed in danger. When trenching, for example, special precautions must be taken in order to keep workers safe. Tunneling is similar to trenching in that employers have a duty to take extra steps to keep New York workers safe from a workplace accident.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, precautions that must be taken include educating workers about the dangers of working in a tunnel. Workers should be properly trained on emergency procedures and protective equipment before doing tunneling work.
Employers should also take special considerations to ensure that the tunnel is safe for people. This includes making sure there is adequate ground support for the shafts of the tunnel and portals or openings. This support could include steel casing, rock, timber or pipe, depending on the situation. Employers also need to take steps to ensure that the tunnel has been properly ventilated and lit to avoid harmful or dangerous working conditions.
Fire protection should also be a concern for employers engaged in tunneling work. To protect from fire, fire resistant materials should be used, and certain fuel sources — such as gasoline — should be avoided. Tightly sealed containers should always be used for fuel to keep it away from explosives that may be used in the project.
If an accident occurs in a tunneling project, whether or not these precautions were taken, workers can be seriously injured. A construction accident or other workplace injury should not be taken lightly by an employee. Instead, they should seek out an attorney for advice regarding their compensation options.