Safety on a construction job is a little like safety when riding a bike. The first, obvious step for being safe is putting on your helmet. But ask any seasoned bicyclist, and they’ll tell you that the majority of avoiding injury is by following proper protocols when you hit the road.
Construction crews take this trend to levels far beyond riding a bike. We’ve dealt with enough pipeline construction firms to know they’ve got safety manuals for any situation you can think of. And they should.
These processes go a long way. But in the world of pipeline construction, where conditions change and the slightest of errors could result in dangerous circumstances, the best method to keep crew members safe is to keep them away from the most hazardous place on the job for as long as you can.
This is the trench.
“Enter excavations only in the execution of work duties authorized by your supervisor,” reads the INGAA Construction and Safety Guidelines. “Exit the excavation as soon as the work is complete. Do not linger.”
They’re not kidding. Trenches always have potential for accumulating water, collapsing walls, a deficiency of oxygen and an excess of flammable substances. Pipeline construction companies take every precaution to keep workers safe in the trench, but avoidance is the best policy, whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is if you can keep workers out of the trench, the less likely you are to experience injuries on the job.
We developed Mad Dog Foam Bridges for efficiency, and with improvements to efficiency comes improvements to safety when repairing drain tiles.
A Mad Dog Foam Bridge requires just 15 sandbags to weigh it down, versus manually piling up to 150 heavy bags to form a bridge. Arranging 90 percent fewer bags takes much less time (and also costs much less). That means less time in the trench.
There is an even safer option, however. Specialized quick-connect clamps, attached to an excavator, can lift a Mad Dog Foam Bridge and place it on the pipeline from outside the trench. That means workers can place sandbags within the Foam Bridge without ever entering the trench.
An even better option than that? If the Foam Bridges are delivered to the job, already filled with sand. That was the idea behind the Mad Dog Bridge Trailer. This truck attachment features “benches” for up to 18 Foam Bridges to sit safely upon for transport to the pipeline construction site. The trailer allows the driver to drive the bridges up to a sand silo, filling them directly and taking sandbags out of the equation.
Keeping workers outside of the trench is one good rule of thumb for maintaining safe work conditions on a pipeline construction project. Another is to spare no expense when pursuing safety and efficiency. That’s what Mad Dog did when designing and commissioning our new trailers.