Guide Tunnelling

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This document is a guideline for the safety of tunnelling.

Text of Guide Tunnelling

Guide for tunnelling work



Safe Work Australia is an Australian Government statutory agency established in 2009. Safe Work Australia consists of representatives of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group.

Safe Work Australia works with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to improve work health and safety and workers compensation arrangements. Safe Work Australia is a national policy body, not a regulator of work health and safety. The Commonwealth, states and territories have responsibility for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction.ISBN978-1-74361-239-2[PDF]ISBN978-1-74361-240-8[DOCX]

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Except for the logos of Safe Work Australia, SafeWork SA, Workplace Standards Tasmania, WorkSafe WA, Workplace Health and Safety QLD, NT WorkSafe, WorkCover NSW, Comcare and WorkSafe ACT, this copyright work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Australia licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit essence, you are free to copy, communicate and adapt the work for non commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the work to Safe Work Australia and abide by the other licence terms.Contact informationSafe Work AustraliaPhone: 1300 551 832Email:

TABLE OF CONTENTS1INTRODUCTION51.1What is tunnelling work?51.2Who has health and safety duties associated with tunnelling work51.3Managing health and safety risks71.4Consultation, co-operation and co-ordination72PLANNING AND PREPARATION82.1Roles in the design stage82.2Developing a tunnel design82.3Inspection planning122.4Planning and preparation specific to the workplace132.5Emergency planning163COMMON HAZARDS AND RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH TUNNELLING WORK224CONTROLLING RISKS IN TUNNELLING WORK254.1Excavation by hand254.2Excavation using plant254.3Tunnel boring machines264.4Drill and blast314.5Portal protection334.6Inspections and scaling334.7Ground support344.8Sprayed concrete354.9Shafts364.10Shaft sinking374.11Raise boring374.12Raised shafts384.13Caissons394.14Ground freezing404.15Pipe jacking404.16Compressed air tunnelling414.17Pressure grouting424.18New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) or Observation Method434.19Personal protective equipment435AIR QUALITY AND VENTILATION SYSTEMS465.1Quantity of air to be supplied or extracted465.2Mechanical ventilation465.3Atmospheric contamination in tunnelling work475.4Dusts and silica485.5Monitoring air quality495.6Using respirators505.7Diesel emissions505.8Managing heat stress516PLANT536.1Procedures for moving plant536.2Surface and underground fuelling546.3Specialist and other plant557.OTHER TUNNELLING RISKS587.1Fire and explosion587.2Hazardous chemicals607.3Health monitoring for hazardous chemicals607.4Visibility and lighting607.5Working with compressed air617.6Electrical safety637.7Falls from heights637.8Falling objects637.9Vibration647.10Eye injury657.11Radiation66APPENDIX A OTHER REFERENCE MATERIAL68APPENDIX B DEFINITIONS72APPENDIX C EXAMPLE HAZARD IDENTIFICATION CHART74APPENDIX D TUNNEL BORING MACHINES75APPENDIX E VENTILATION METHODS AND EQUIPMENT77APPENDIX F ATMOSPHERIC CONTAMINANTS81APPENDIX G HAZARDOUS CONTAMINANTS AFFECTING AIR QUALITY83

Guide for Tunnelling Workpage 2 of 85

INTRODUCTION This Guide provides practical guidance for a person conducting a business or undertaking and workers on managing health and safety risks associated with tunnelling work. It should be read together with the Code of Practice: Construction work and other codes of practice relevant to tunnelling work. A list of useful resources is at Appendix A.This Guide applies to constructing: tunnels, caverns, shafts and associated underground structures, and cut-and-cover excavations - those physically connected to ongoing underground construction tunnels and those cut-and-cover operations that create conditions characteristic of underground construction.This Guide does not apply to mining. When some materials are excavated, like coal, the process is considered mining. In those circumstances the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations for mining and related codes of practice apply.What is tunnelling work?Tunnelling work includes constructing a tunnel and supporting systems and associated temporary work. A supporting system means a system necessary to construct the tunnel, for example a ventilation system.A tunnel is defined in the WHS Regulations as an underground passage or opening that is approximately horizontal and starts at the surface of the ground or at an excavation.Excavation associated with tunnelling includes vertical and inclined shafts providing access to tunnels, portals where tunnels emerge at the surface or at a shaft, underground chambers and caverns.Construction work carried out in or near a tunnel or associated excavation is high risk construction work under the WHS Regulations.Other key terms used in this guide are defined at Appendix B.Who has health and safety duties associated with tunnelling workThe complexity of tunnelling work means there are often many people involved. Everyone involved in tunnelling work has health and safety duties when carrying out the work and more than one person often has the same duty. For example, contractors and subcontractors can have the duties of persons conducting a business or undertaking but they may also be workers.

Table 1 Health and safety duties in relation to tunnelling workWhoDutiesProvisions

A person who conducts a business or undertakingEnsure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and other people are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.Eliminate health and safety risks so far as is reasonably practicable, and if this is not reasonably practicable, minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.Manage risks to the health and safety of a worker associated with remote or isolated work. Manage other risks under the WHS Regulations including those associated with hazardous chemicals, airborne contaminants and plant, as well as other hazards associated with tunnelling work like noise and manual tasks.WHS Act s 19

WHS Regulationsr 48

A principal contractor the person who commissions the tunnelAppoint one principal contractor for each construction project valued at $250 000 or more.Specific duties in relation to signs, work health and safety management plan, construction materials and waste, storing plant, essential services, traffic management and general workplace management.WHS Regulationsr 293

Designers, manufactures, importers, suppliers or installers of plant, substances or structuresEnsure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the plant or structure they design, manufacture, import or supply is without risks to health and safety including carrying out testing and analysis and providing information about the plant or structure.WHS Acts 22-26

Officers such as company directorsExercise due diligence including by taking reasonable steps to ensure the business or undertaking has and uses appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks from tunnelling work.WHS Acts 27

WorkersTake reasonable care for their own health and safety Take reasonable care not to adversely affect other peoples health and safetyCo-operate with reasonable work health and safety policies or procedures, andComply, so far as they are reasonably able, with reasonable instructions. WHS Acts 28

Other people at the workplace, like visitorsTake reasonable care for their own health and safetyTake reasonable care not to adversely affect other peoples health and safety, andComply, so far as they are reasonably able, with reasonable instructions.WHS Acts 29

More information about health and safety duties for tunnelling work is in the Code of Practice: Construction work and the Code of Practice: Safe design of structures.Managing health and safety risksThis Guide explains how to manage the risks associated with tunnelling work by following a systematic process which involves: identifying hazards find out what could cause harm in tunnelling work assessing risks if necessary understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening controlling risks implement the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable in the circumstances, and reviewing control measures to ensure they are working as planned.Further guidance on the risk management process is in the Code of Practice: How to manage work health and safety risks.Consultation, co-operation and co-ordinationConsultation involves sharing information, giving workers a reasonable opportunity to express views and taking those views into account before making decisions on health and safety matters.Sometimes you may share responsibility for a health and safety matter with other business operators who are involved in the same activities or who share the same workplace. In these situations, you should share information to find out who is doing what and work together in a co-operative and co-ordinated way so risks are eliminated or minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.Further guidance on consultation is in the Code of Practice: Work health and safety consultation, co-operation and co-ordination.

PLANNING AND PREPARATION2.1 Roles in the design stageThe persons conducting a business or undertaking commissioning the tunnelling design or construction work are in key positions to influence the safe design, construction, use, maintenance and de-commissioning of the tunnel. This is because they usually develop the concept