PPE to be utilised in Tunnelling Work

When involved in the construction of tunnels there are a variety of hazards that may be present. Hazards include confined spaces, falling rocks, high water inflow, gas inrush, falls from heights, working in the dark, moving plant, manual tasks, heat stress, noise, hazardous chemicals and dust, electrical hazard, fire or explosion, flammable gases and vapours.

PPE are a last resort in protection but should not be overlooked because they can reduce the harm caused to the worker. Some of the PPE that should be utilised include based on the hazards present include:

  • Proper clothing for protection against chemicals
  • Eye protection against Dust, flying objects and sunlight.
  • Fall-arrest equipment to prevent injury from falling
  • High visibility garments/safety reflective vests especially for work near traffic, mobile plant, underground etc.
  • Respiratory protective equipment for workers exposed to harmful atmospheric contaminants, such as siliceous dust, diesel particulate matter and welding fumes.
  • Safety helmets to lessen the impact of head trauma or falls
  • Safety gloves to minimise the risk of hand injury.
  • Waterproof clothing for bad weather or wet conditions.

Source : Peter Shanks

All workers engaged in tunnel construction should be fully trained, not only in general construction site safety but also on safety hazards presented by the tunnel site in particular. Training should involve hazard identification and safety procedures as well as what to do in the case of an emergency because these aspects will most likely differ from those of a conventional building site.