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November 16, 2009

Lessons Learned Trench Collapse


What: When: Where: Trench Collapse Non-Parsons Employee Fatality October 17, 2009 Khaled Al Attar Tower, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Incident Summary A welder contractor had to weld a preinsulated carbon steel pipe joint onto a chilled water pipeline in the ground floor of a multistory parking facility. An L-shaped trench had already been dug to 4 feet 11 inches, and the chilled water supply and return pipes were already in place. Before adding the last joint, the welder found the area to be congested and requested two coworkers to deepen the weld pit and cut a cavity in the face of the trench. The weld pit was deepened using a jack hammer and a hand shovel. Once the pit was deepened, the welder started to weld the pipe joints. However, the soil in the trench collapsed on the welder and trapped him. Immediately, the two coworkers started digging to try to release the welder from the soil. They summoned assistance, and they were able to dig the welder out of the soil. The onsite first aid person arrived at the scene and administered emergency assistance while the site foreman called the emergency services. After 20 minutes, an ambulance arrived, and the welder was transferred to a hospital. At the hospital, the welder died from his injuries. Discussion of Activities Work at the project was suspended until all trench areas were inspected for stability and safety. The safety personnel and inspectors had to confirm that trench support methods met the sites approved method statements. The safety personnel and inspectors identified another inadequate trench shoring area, and they instructed the contractor to rectify the situation before work would be allowed to proceed.

Analysis of What Went Wrong Listed below are the items that went wrong:

The contractor did not follow the approved method statement and apply suitable trench shoring. The welder and other contractors staff at the site failed to recognize the danger of digging a cavity and using a jack hammer to deepen the trench, the vibration from which potentially loosened the soil. The workers present at the site failed to recognize the danger because the trench wall appeared stable.

Recommendations Parsons recommendations are as follows:

Hold a briefing with Parsons site staff and all of the safety personnel to immediately notify the contractors and clients representatives of work locations where there are deficiencies that do not meet safe practices, local regulations, and contract specifications. The sites construction superintendent and safety personnel must thoroughly review contractors work locations to ensure that adequate trench shoring is in place as required by the local regulations and contract specifications. Suspend work until the contractors have rectified unsafe areas and conditions. Review the sites method statements to ensure that the sites workers and supervisors are aware of trench shoring safety requirements. Chilled Water Pipe Installation Khaled Al Attar Tower Trench collapse, crushing, and suffocation Mike Gordon, Project Manager Telephone: +971 (2) 614-2372 Email: mike.gordon@parsons.com Jeffrey Vance, Safety, Health and Environment Director, PIL Telephone: +971 (2) 614-2411 Email: jeffrey.vance@parsons.com Parsons Incident No. 07708 All Parsons Programs and Projects

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