Everyone knows that construction sites can be hazardous, no matter where they take place. There’s a reason why workers wear helmets and bright, neon-yellow safety vests. Look at downtown Columbus, near to our home in Ohio, where construction of several tall building projects is underway. It’s easy to understand how something could fall from a significant height and strike a worker, or how working at an extreme height is a danger unto itself.
But the opposite is the case on a pipeline project. Workers are in less danger the higher they get…but rather the lower they get. Specifically, working in the trench is the most dangerous place to be. The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America’s Construction and Safety Guidelines make this clear.
“Enter excavations only in the execution of work duties authorized by your supervisor,” it reads. “Exit the excavation as soon as the work is complete. Do not linger.”
The number of things that can go wrong is a long list. Heavy equipment or materials can fall into the trench, or their weight could cause the walls of the trench to collapse. These walls also make excavated areas a dangerous collection area for water, flammable gasses and other hazardous substances.
The best way to avoid injury on a pipeline construction site is to just keep crew out of the trench.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Historically, one of the tasks that most often requires workers going into excavated areas is drain tile repair. The broken ends of the tile can be any number of feet above the ground, and a bridge needs to be built on and around the newly-placed pipeline in order to support the new tile.
This is where Mad Dog Foam Bridges makes drain tile repair safer.
First, the foam bridges themselves completely change the process of, well, bridging. With sandbag bridges, crews need to get down in the trench and manually construct the bridges by piling the bags…there’s just no way to do this from a safe place. Mad Dog Foam Bridges, however, can be placed directly on top of the pipeline…no lengthy stacking process.
But doesn’t that still require crew members in the trench? No! Mad Dog has also developed specialized clamps, which can be connected to an excavator for lifting the sandbag-filled bridges onto the pipeline from outside the trench.
After the bridge is placed, they can backfill the trench until the soil is flush with the top of the foam bridge. The flat top of the bridge makes easier than the lumpy surface created by a sandbag bridge.
The workers finally enter the trench to make the final drain tile repair. But now, after the backfill, the trench is just a few feet deep. Danger created by flooding or collapse is nil.
Mad Dog Foam Bridges were designed with the intent to create a better, more reliable drain tile bridge. But we’re proud that we’ve been able to make the pipeline construction process safer in the process.