Major construction projects, such as the Green Line Extension Project (GLX) for the MBTA often require onsite safety staffing. Using a professional safety company like UASC allows the owner, general contractor, and subcontractors an objective analysis of job hazards and safety compliance on the job.
United Alliance Services has offices in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and consultants based in New Hampshire and Connecticut as well. This allows us to service our clients all over the New England area. Our consultants have a variety of specialized project training for rail sites including MBTA Contractor, Keolis, and Amtrak Track Training.
Our safety consultants have worked on a number of GLX sites as well as other railway construction projects. The goal of the GLX project is to extend the Green Line from where it ends in Cambridge to Somerville and Medford.
The design-build contract for GLX has not yet been awarded, but has been narrowed down to three bidders; GLX Constructors, Green Line Partners, and Walsh Barletta Granite, JV. The notice-to-proceed is ahead of schedule and slated for December 11, 2017.
Though the design-build contract has not been yet awarded construction is already underway, and the project has expanded its work hours to seven days a week, including overnight and weekend work. This allows the construction work to proceed while the trains are infrequent.
Construction Safety Manager Work
Construction safety managers conduct safety audits of the job site and make immediate recommendations for correction. They also complete safety audit reports, with recommendations and noting if corrective action has already been taken. Safety is paramount to any operation, as it is certainly with the additional hazards that are inherent to railroad work. Safety managers for this type of work must be familiar with the relevant track safety program as well as have extensive experience with construction safety. Construction safety managers lead daily/weekly safety meetings, facilitate communication about conditions, hazards and work changes, complete job safety analyses (JSA’s or JHA’s), and work to ensure the efficacy of the safety program.
Railroad Safety Concerns
As with any industry, railroad workers have certain specific safety requirements that help eliminate hazards that can arise. Workers need to be specially trained to be aware of these hazards and know what the appropriate safety tools and protocols are to keep themselves and those around them safe.
Some of the safety requirements workers, supervisors, and safety managers need to know include:
- Understanding railroad signs, flags, and tags
- Special high-visibility vests and jackets
- Working Limits
- Track Speeds
- Direction of Train Traffic
- Where to Clear
- How to cross the tracks
- Hot Spot Areas
- Placement of Watchmen
- Rotation & Relief Policy
- Weather Conditions/Visibility
- Inspect Watchmen’s Equipment
This is certainly not a complete list but begins to paint the picture of safety concerns while working on the railroad.
Coordination and Communication for Safety
The best way to ensure safety on railroad construction projects is consistent communication and coordination of work. Everyone must be aware of train schedules, work schedules, and conditions. The construction work environment constantly changes as the project progresses, and keeping all trades and subcontractors apprised of pertinent information is important to their job, and also to their safety. A construction safety manager is a great facilitator to making this type of teamwork happen.