By Lee Roberts
JAMESTOWN, Ky. — Construction crews at the Wolf Creek Dam Foundation Remediation Project reached a lofty safety milestone today when the men and women installing a concrete barrier wall deep into the dam's embankment reached 550 days and one million work-hours on the job without a lost-time accident.
During this period, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District and its contractor, Treviicos-Soletanche J.V., worked very hard to avoid accidents that could potentially cause delays. They teamed up, held frequent safety meetings, reviewed procedures, and kept up a continual presence of safety inspectors on the work platform.
"Emphasizing job safety and focusing full attention on all the details of the safety program are the drivers of this amazing safety record, and that is so important when there are so many moving pieces such as vehicles, equipment, and people moving around day and night on the work platform," said Lt. Col. James A. DeLapp, Nashville District commander.
The overall barrier installation to stop seepage in the karst geology within the dam's foundation is 80 percent finished and on course for completion in December 2013.
John Schnebelen, Nashville District's safety manager at Wolf Creek Dam, said safety policies were put in place early on that enabled the project to move forward with a million hours without a lost-time injury. He added that training needs were identified, the Corps and contractor partnered to revise the accident prevention plan, and a safety culture thrived that allowed both safety and productivity to increase simultaneously.
"Both safety and productivity go hand in hand," Schnebelen said. "You cannot be successful in one area and not the other."
There is a real sense of pride by the contractor, which has focused on the health and wellbeing of its employees.
Fabio Santillan, project manager for Treviicos-Soletanche J.V., said his work crews have been working around the clock, accumulating more than 11,000 man hours every week.
"Thirteen drilling rigs, and several other ancillary equipment work in a very congested area day and night with no interruption," Santillan said. "We perform on average more than 385 crane lifts every day and 110,000 per year. Each lift is a critical operation that requires our personnel to understand the risks and to follow the procedures in a methodic and safe manner."
Santillan said he believes that safety and quality are integral and fundamental parts of production, and that's why it's been so important for everyone on the job to work safely.
"I am very proud of being part of this team of people who are ultimately and truly responsible for this exceptional achievement," Santillan said.
Nashville District Project Officer 1st Lt. Allen Stansbury said constant refinement of the construction process to keep equipment movement and drilling sequences on schedule made safety very important not only on the work platform, but also in the maintenance shop, staging areas, desanding plant and slurry ponds.
The contractor also performed daily and weekly toolbox safety meetings that encouraged input from the lowest levels. Schnebelen worked constantly with the contractor to identify safety weaknesses and to make improvements to the safety program, Stansbury said.
The project reached the 500,000 hour milestone in November 2011 and 750,000 in February 2012.
US Army Corps of Engineers
Wolf Creek Dam
Wolf Creek Dam Foundation Remediation Project