New Zealand tunnel work inspires health and safety course

3 September 2019

New Zealand – The New Zealand Tunnelling Society (NZTS) recently ran a three-day health and safety course in Auckland in recognition of the significant amount of tunnelling activity currently going on in the city. Two major tunnelling projects, City Rail Link and the Central Interceptor sewer project are in the early stages of construction as well as various small utility tunnel schemes.

The course included the changes to BS 6164 as well as possible changes arising from the revision of EN standards such as EN 16191 (TBMs) and EN 12110 (airlocks). It also focused on the use of high pressure compressed air.

The course was delivered by Donald Lamont and attracted 37 engineers, managers and health and safety professionals from the Central Interceptor project, City Rail Link, Auckland Council, Maconnell Dowell, Abergheldie Harker, Ghella, March Cato and Jacobs as well as receiving strong support from the high hazard unit of WorkSafe NZ – the health and safety regulator for NZ tunnelling.

Bill Newns Chair of the NZTS said, “One of the main reasons to set up the NZTS and re-join the ITA was to improve our international links and access world authorities to help our industry grow from the delivery of successful tunnelling projects. The course highlighted the emerging awareness and practise of worker health and wellbeing assessment and in particular the issues of silica dust and mental health: not only that the worker is fit for the workplace but also that the workplace is fit for the worker.

“It is very pleasing to see the strength of cross sector support for Health and Safety in New Zealand evident at this short course. We are grateful to Lamont for sharing his deep knowledge and insights into emerging trends and technologies with us and we look forward to his return.”

For a recent interview with Newns on the state of the New Zealand industry and its tunnelling association, see Tunnels and Tunnelling International August 2018, pp.20-21.