Construction workers need safety training before starting work on a building site, not only because it’s the law but also because construction workers hold more than their own health and safety in their hands. The actions of one worker may have a widespread impact on the construction site and the community which is why safety and safety training in particular needs to be a priority of every construction employer and worker.
A recent incident which took place in Melbourne is an example of what can happen when construction work goes awry. On Saturday workers excavating a site at Collins Street accidentally caused a gas pipe to rupture causing a leak.
Although no major accident ensued, traffic was diverted and pedestrians were evacuated as a precautionary measure – the situation could have been much worse. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade was called in to keep things under control.
The following is an excerpt from an article on SafetyCulture.com.au explains what happened:
As a precautionary measure, traffic and pedestrians between Queen and William Street were closed off by responding authorities. Two people were reportedly evacuated from the site as a result of the gas leak. Trams of Yarra Trams affected by the gas leak were diverted into Elizabeth, Flinders and Latrobe Streets.
Authorities announced that the gas leak was brought under control but continued to cordon the area to allay any untoward incidents. Aside from the two people evacuated from the site, no workers were hurt or injured from the gas leak.
The following photos show the consequences of a gas leak which took place in Houston Texas. According to reports a back hoe hit a gas line which resulted in catching the back hoe and a nearby vehicle on fire. Hazmat teams were on scene with at least eight additional units being called in. Those on the Melbourne site were lucky to escape before the situation got this out of hand,
A truck on site delivering construction materials was caught on fire during the incident.
Not only could a fire have destroyed machinery and equipment, it could have set work on the site back substantially costing thousands of dollars.
Gas leaks on construction sites are extremely dangerous and can cause fires and explosions. When construction activities rupture gas pipes the risk of fires and explosions isn’t confined to the construction site either.
As we all know gas is by its very nature, highly combustible and so if gas leaks occur, the likelihood of a fire or an explosion is high. If there is a break in the pipe, it can spread gas quickly and therefore there isn’t much time to get the situation under control which is evacuation of the area is usually necessary.
In confined spaces gas leaks can be deadly because of the release of poisonous gas including carbon monoxide. Although carbon monoxide doesn’t smell, it can quickly kill and workers in the space may not even be aware of its presence because it’s colourless and odourless. Even if it doesn’t kill, it can cause other long term health problems such as permanent brain damage.