Thursday, February 15, 2018

Building bridges at home and abroad

By Craig Smiley

Roadwork and construction are so common that they can feel like a part of our everyday life. We see caution signs and commute through work zones, notice pavement going down and bridges coming up out of the ground. For example, if you drive on Interstate 405 near the State Route 167 interchange in Renton, you have probably seen the progress our crews have been making on the I-405/SR 167 Interchange Direct Connector Project this past year.
Seeing examples of fall protection

With all of our construction projects, we place a heavy emphasis on safety. It’s our top priority to get our crews and public home safely, and we’re always reminding drivers to give our crews a brake. Many hazards exist on any construction site, especially complex roadway projects. Falls, extreme weather, and working near heavy equipment, in confined spaces such as trenches and near fast-moving traffic, often at night, are just some of the risks that our crews face.

But safety standards and practices can vary widely around the world. That’s why the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences recently hosted a weeklong seminar on roadway construction safety for the Federation of Mongolian Road Workers. This group is composed of trade union leaders, electrical engineers, educators/safety trainers, labor economists, social insurance professionals, and other consultants. A few Mongolian roadway construction company owners also attended. The UW approached us to provide our perspectives and best practices through the lens of an active construction project. On one of those days, our Direct Connector project team had the opportunity to share our culture of safety with the group and tour key work zones near the busy interchange in Renton.

In the 21 provinces of Mongolia, there are about 30,000 miles of roads – compared to 4.12 million miles of road in the United States – and about 25 percent are paved. Currently there are no highways in Mongolia, only single-lane roads, but that is about to change.

With a new roadway construction push scheduled in the coming year, the Mongolian Labor Union Association has made health and safety a major goal and priority. During the tour, we showed them several examples of the emphasis placed on safety for our workers and the measures our project team takes to protect the environment. We also gave them information about hazard analysis and mitigation, on-site safety, and the importance of personal protective equipment.

The Direct Connector construction team is proud of our culture of safety and we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas with the group.
Learning about trench safety


Unknown said...

Who is the electrical contractor on the 167/405 overpass project

WSDOT said...

The Prime contractor for the I-405/SR 167 Interchange Direct Connector project is Guy F. Atkinson Construction and their electrical subcontractor is Totem Electric.

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