The Channel Tunnel

Timothy Green

Abstract

The paper begins with a brief outline of the scope and size of the Channel Tunnel project and the author's particular role of control of four types of underground logistic service: a 900-mm construction railway, a standard-gauge railway, a rubber-tired vehicle service, and recently a fleet of 125 mountain bikes.

The Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) at the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) may need to embrace the concept that only line management can be responsible for the management of safety, with a number of safety professionals as advisors. If chosen, to be used at the YMP this approach will have organizational implications.

The author draws on his Channel Tunnel experience to show how a safety culture that started out being safety-department-led developed to the point where line managers accepted the ownership of safety. He suggests a series of practical steps by which this can be accomplished on other projects.

The control of major incidents on the Channel Tunnel sites is described briefly. Control involves the use of dedicated duty controllers, but when things go wrong, they are directed by line management. Thus, the crucial role managers must perform if work is to be carried out safely is critical.

Outline of The Channel Tunnel Project

The Channel Tunnel, now nearing completion, provides a fixed link between southeast England and northern France under the English Channel. The three parallel tunnels are 50 km long portal to portal. On the English side, approximately 8.5 km are underland; on the French side, 2.5 km are underland. Each of the two larger tunnels (7.8 m in diameter) will house a single-track, standard-gauge railway. At the two points where



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--> The Channel Tunnel Timothy Green Abstract The paper begins with a brief outline of the scope and size of the Channel Tunnel project and the author's particular role of control of four types of underground logistic service: a 900-mm construction railway, a standard-gauge railway, a rubber-tired vehicle service, and recently a fleet of 125 mountain bikes. The Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) at the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) may need to embrace the concept that only line management can be responsible for the management of safety, with a number of safety professionals as advisors. If chosen, to be used at the YMP this approach will have organizational implications. The author draws on his Channel Tunnel experience to show how a safety culture that started out being safety-department-led developed to the point where line managers accepted the ownership of safety. He suggests a series of practical steps by which this can be accomplished on other projects. The control of major incidents on the Channel Tunnel sites is described briefly. Control involves the use of dedicated duty controllers, but when things go wrong, they are directed by line management. Thus, the crucial role managers must perform if work is to be carried out safely is critical. Outline of The Channel Tunnel Project The Channel Tunnel, now nearing completion, provides a fixed link between southeast England and northern France under the English Channel. The three parallel tunnels are 50 km long portal to portal. On the English side, approximately 8.5 km are underland; on the French side, 2.5 km are underland. Each of the two larger tunnels (7.8 m in diameter) will house a single-track, standard-gauge railway. At the two points where

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--> each tunnel is divided into thirds, the running tunnels come together in single, large caverns housing scissor crossovers. These two crossovers and the switch-and-crossing work near each portal divide the tunnels into six sectors, three in the North Tunnel and three in the South Tunnel. By working single-line traffic on one of these sections, the client (Eurotunnel [ET]) will be able to take possession of one-sixth of the tunnel for maintenance. The maintenance is planned for short periods each night, with slightly longer possessions on weekends. A third, smaller tunnel (4.8 m in diameter) lies between the running tunnels. This service tunnel carries much of the linear, fixed equipment and is a crucial element of the ventilation system. It will also serve as an access spine for rubber-tired vehicles to cover maintenance and emergencies. At the portals and both the United Kingdom and French crossovers, the service tunnel extends under a running tunnel and then back again to permit the larger tunnels to come together. There are cross passages between each of the running tunnels and the service tunnel at every 375 m. These can be used in emergencies and are also the route taken by many of the linear, fixed-equipment services. At 250-m intervals there are 2-m-diameter, piston-relief ducts between the running tunnels that pass over the top of the service tunnel but are not connected to it. After ET starts commercial service, ventilation of the tunnel complex will normally be accomplished by pressurizing the service tunnel with cross-passage doors closed and with doors at the crossovers also closed. The two remaining tunnels will thus be separated from the service tunnel, which should be a safe haven in the case of fire. Should it be necessary to ventilate the running tunnels, a supplementary ventilation system can be used that can operate bidirectionally, with United Kingdom fans blowing and French fans sucking and vice versa. At each portal, major terminals have been built. The United Kingdom terminal is the smaller of the two due to the geographical restraints of the North Downs to the north of the terminal and a motorway to the south. The French terminal is not as constrained and is many times larger. ET will develop an industrial estate on the French terminal. The commercial services will be of a number of different types. Principally, there will be shuttle services for heavy goods vehicles and for private cars and coaches. The shuttle vehicles are large in cross section and are, therefore, captive to the project. On each terminal there are toll booths, customs, and immigration facilities for both countries. Tunnel users will clear all these formalities in the country from which they are leaving. Upon arrival across the channel, vehicles will be free to drive from the terminal straight onto the motorway network. Car passengers will drive themselves onto the trains and then ride in their own cars. Lorry drivers, having driven onto their shuttle trains, will ride in an amenity coach on the same train. In addition to the shuttle trains, there will also be

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--> through passenger and freight trains of normal proportions, which will join together the United Kingdom and European railway networks. The project is a design-and-construct package. This includes the entire infrastructure and all the systems needed to make this major transportation project work. Ten major civil engineering contractors, five French and five British, form the joint venture Transmanche Link (TML). The author's personal involvement has been to provide, maintain, and run the temporary logistic services used during construction. They have included a two-track, 900-mm-gauge railway in each of the United Kingdom side tunnels for shifting muck, taking men and materials into the tunnels, and providing work rigs from which the fixed equipment was erected. The following statistics should be considered as a scale indicator: 160 prime movers; 1,000 items of rolling stock, one-third of which were muck skips used to bring out 17 million tons of chalk marl; and half a million concrete segments carried in, which, together with 123,000 cast-iron segments, hundreds of kilometers of pipework, and thousands of kilometers of cabling, amounted to a further 10 million tons of traffic carried. In its five-year life, the construction railway traveled enough train-miles to have gone to the moon and back more than four times. At peak traffic, the train-miles added up each month to four circumnavigations around the world. The standard-gauge track, once laid, was also used for construction logistic purposes. This substantial fleet comprised 25 locomotives, 100 flatbeds, and 4 passenger-carrying, multiple-unit sets. Once the construction railway was removed and replaced by a concrete surface, a fleet of articulated, man-riding, robber-tired vehicles; 40 tractors; and 70 trailers formed the basis of the logistic services in the service tunnel. Recently this service has been enhanced by 125 self-drive mountain bicycles. When exiting the tunnel, 15 km of pedaling against the 1.1 percent grade proved challenging. The tunneling works were carried out by tunnel boring machines; by road headers in the crossover cavern, for which New Austrian Tunneling Method techniques were adopted; and by hand. The majority of the tunneling was through chalk marl. The Channel Tunnel and Yucca Mountain One of the more pertinent similarities between the Channel Tunnel Project and the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) is the mixture of people, each group with its own safety customs, practices, and cultures, in close proximity underground to those engaged in tunneling. In the Channel Tunnel, this was the mix of those installing and testing fixed

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--> equipment while tunneling was still taking place. At the YMP, tunneling and the investigation of what is exposed by the tunneling will bring together diverse cultures. Organization for Safety TML's experience is that, for a project as large and diverse as the Channel Tunnel, line management must be responsible for ensuring safety. Furthermore, that the line management of the project must be under single, unified control. Thus the chief executive is also, ex officio, the chief safety officer. This philosophy does not decry the crucial role that safety professionals must perform. Their role is one of support, however, not of direction. TML's safety professionals were overjoyed as line management's commitment to safety grew. The following are some additional points on organization, gathered from TML's experience. As the need arose for organizational change to suit the development of the work, TML used the tracing of safety responsibility from the bottom up to the chief executive as one of a number of checks to prove the organization proposed. Having taken on a subcontractor destined later to be at the very heart of the project, suspicions about its safety culture were aroused when a front-line supervisor remarked that he could not take a proposed safety measure until he had his company safety officer's approval. The most complex change in organization, and therefore in responsibility for safety, that TML is facing is for the phased hand-over of the project to the client, ET. The principal cause for rejecting the proposed organization has been the failure to identify satisfactorily the safety chain from the operative to the chief executive. By its nature, the Channel Tunnel project started simple and became complex as further types of work were added before earlier phases were complete. The tunneling was naturally dominant, especially as the logistic support of the team at the tunnel work face clearly affected all work in the tunnel complex. In TML's experience, procedures and safety systems developed for the tunneling phase were surprisingly easily adapted to suit the advent of different types of work forces. This was true on two planes: (1) on matters physical and (2) on attitudes about safety.

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--> The author feels qualified to offer the last few paragraphs not because TML did everything right, but rather because TML got it wrong a good few times and worked mighty hard to try to get it right. There follow a number of things TML did; most, but not all, worked. Early Steps, Easily Taken TML management realized fairly early that they, like the construction industry generally, had a wrong safety culture. But safety cultures do not respond to ''one, two, three, change'' instructions. Substantial procedures must be followed. Both of the following suggestions are excellent first steps. First, having established an organization through which safety responsibility can be traced from any person on the project up to the chief executive, project managers should set up a series of tiered management meetings dedicated to safety only. These meetings should occur on a monthly basis and last about two hours. The most senior of the meetings is to be chaired by the chief executive and the most junior chaired by a line manager in each group, with front-line supervisors as attendees. The meetings will all have the same agenda: feedback from the tier above; information to the tier above; review the previous month's accidents in detail, seeking patterns for each attendee's group of people; review the progress of each attendee's safety initiatives from the previous month; and approve of each attendee's proposed safety initiatives for the following month. Each tiered safety meeting should have a safety professional to act as an advisor and minute-taker, but the meeting must be chaired by a line manager. Peer pressure works wonders. Safety is soon seen to be the sum of a series of apparently minor initiatives. The second but contemporary step that can be taken is to have all accidents investigated by the injured parties' leader on site. The lead hand will examine what happened and how and why it happened and come up with a solution. The lead hand's supervisor will need to evaluate whether the lead hand is correct and whether his solution will work. The supervisor's manager should evaluate whether the supervisor is right. In all cases, they should ask what they can do to help and to prevent the accident from

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--> happening again. TML has found that this works well whether the lead hand is a miner or a doctor of philosophy. The benefits of this technique are threefold: The lead hand accepts ownership of the safety of the people for whom he is responsible. Detailed knowledge of what happened can enhance future accident prevention efforts. The same detailed knowledge can be used by the line manager to categorize the accidents his people have suffered. This categorization and seeking patterns where, prima facie, no patterns exist is the basis upon which scientific management can prosper. That is to say, "what can be measured can be managed." Analysis of Accidents Project management should not seek to impose categories of accidents from the top down. Let each line manager produce his own. Where appropriate, those gathering the accident figures can amalgamate these categories at the monthly safety meetings, tier by tier, feeding the results upwards. Wherever possible, the categories should be specific and tailor-made to suit the job; also, the categories should be such that prevention of a category of accidents can be one line manager's task. As an example, back strains were a commonplace accident at TML. By establishing detail the author found that back strains of his people generally occurred when operatives were pulling point levers to switch trains between tracks. A short study established a good, kinetic method of pulling points. This was taught to the existing work force by the toolbox talk method and was included in the training of new starters. That accident category disappeared almost overnight. TML measured its overall progress by reportable accidents (i.e., the more serious accidents) per 100,000 man-hours and by a frequency rate of all work-related attendances at an on-site medical center, as shown in Figures 1 and 2. In Figure 3, the dramatic drop in eye injuries occurred when the chief executive decided enough was enough and made the wearing of safety spectacles mandatory. By analysis of the accidents of the author's own group and at more senior levels (with access to other groups) it became clear that,. despite the apparently hazardous nature of the underground tasks, only a very small proportion of accidents were due to bad ground or faulty materials, plant, or equipment. Human behavior was responsible for about 95 percent of all of TML's accidents. Thus, not only had the hard-pressed line manager become a safety man, he also now needed to become a behavioral scientist.

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--> Figure 1 Accident frequency rate per 100,000 hours of work.

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--> Figure 2 Work-related medical center attendances at the tunnel subproject.

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--> Figure 3 Number of eye injuries of attendances at the tunnel subproject medical center.

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--> The cultural change TML sought to achieve and the need to address behavioral issues led to a whole series of safety initiatives. They were not all done at once. The choice of what to do when is very much a matter of judgment. It depends on how far the cultural pendulum has swung and what is practical at the time. A Series of Initiatives The following are two success stories related to safety initiatives taken by TML. TML required members of the line-management team to go on well-publicized "safety walkabouts" every two weeks. This initiative had two effects: The line manager who was not as committed to safety as was desirable was nudged in the right direction. Those on-site underground, or wherever, seeing management devoting time and energy to safety, became more convinced that safety was on the list of things, such as productivity, quality, materials control, and cost control, that managers traditionally cared about. TML realized that its work force, properly directed, was highly talented and that this talent could be used for bottom-up safety problem-solving. One of the safety-management, tiered committees would sponsor problem-solving by groups established ad hoc. The committee, usually consisting of between four and six people from different groups (and even including subcontractor input), would meet two or three times. The ad hoc groups have a universal membership—again an opportunity to mix doctors of philosophy with plant fitters. TML had many success stories. Locomotive drivers recommended a change of style and some change of content in the procedures that described how things should be done. The procedures were revised, and the reasons for their revision were explained. Adherence to procedures improved because the drivers and others working on the construction railway accepted ownership of the procedures as they recognized their own bottom-up input. While the waste of industrial gloves was reduced and their usage was increased, based on the findings of an ad hoc group given total freedom to choose the types of gloves used, TML had a slight problem. Bricklayers found that their brick hand and their trowel hand needed different gloves. TML is seeking a group of predominantly left-handed bricklayers and would do a deal!

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--> Toolbox talks, which TML calls field safety talks, were targeted at one per employee per week. Two benefits resulted: (1) it proved to be a valuable means of conveying information top-down and (2) it had a considerable impact on front-line supervision forced, perhaps for the first time, into a teaching rather than driving mode. Recognizing the behavioral nature of the majority of the safety problems led TML unashamedly to market safety as a commodity. The organization produced site videos using their own recognizable people; placed notes in the pay packet (a document always studied); conducted field safety talks on particular issues; prepared in-house posters, frequently rude and often with caricatures of the well-known (Figures 4 and 5); and created encapsulated cards as an aide mémoire. TML's site was unionized, and somewhat atypically, the project team enjoyed excellent industrial relations. The trades' unions participated with vigor in the safety program and never once used safety as a bargaining tool. A shop steward on one occasion chaired an ad hoc group, and among his team there were an engineer and a tunnel agent, as well as two or three operatives. The group was very successful. TML management thought that the pendulum of change had swung enough and that there was sufficient evidence of operative involvement in safety to try a "safety suggestions scheme." Wrong! almost no response! This raised an important point: if it, or any safety initiative, clearly does not work, drop it quickly. TML embraced the DuPont-style, one-to-one audit system. Supervisors were trained to do these audits, which was again a benefit to TML, as it encouraged leadership and teaching rather than the traditional construction-industry, physically robust style of the big stick. Supervisors acted as auditors and watched an operative or a small group of operatives, preferably while remaining unseen, and then had a chat with them. The chat was a no-risk discussion, as the auditee would not be named. The auditee was encouraged to tell the auditor how he was "out of line" in safety terms. He was also encouraged to make no-risk suggestions. After the auditor left the auditee, the auditor completed a record of the audit. The auditor recorded good and bad actions observed against a simple checklist that monitored protective equipment, housekeeping, orientation, tools, and operating procedures. For his group of departments, the author received the audit reports directly from the supervisors. Each month, for each group, he summarized the particular findings, stressing the positive rather than the negative. For example, a group would present typically 60 or 70 audits covering 80 or 90 auditees. If in the protective equipment section there were sightings of 2 workers without their hard hats and 4 without safety glasses, this was put into perspective by reporting this as 6 transgressions out of 450 possible (90 people × 5 pieces of protective equipment: each person wears hat, overalls, boots, gloves, and glasses).

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--> Figure 4 Example of an in-house poster used to market a safety spectacles campaign at TML.

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--> Figure 5 Example of an in-house poster used to market the TML track safety campaign.

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--> Each month the author would pick out 4 or 5 key issues for each group (usually out of 50 or 60 suggestions from the auditors/auditees on the lower half of the form). Sometimes the same concerns would be raised by many auditees. These monthly reports would become part of his own line manager's list of safety initiatives for the next month. TML offered groups of any predetermined size an 18-inch color TV or a voucher with an equivalent value if they worked collectively 25,000 hours without any form of accident. One group of plant fitters managed four such consecutive prizes. For a single 9-to-5 guy, 100,000 hours equates to 50 man-years. The prizes were raffled among the group who had been accident-free. They were not prizes for being safe. Publicity was the aim. Figure 6 shows a number of bricks TML used to build a wall of safety. This paper has described some of them. Many are self-evident, but the Safety Performance Management System will not be one of these. This system was TML's attempt to measure the effort put into and tangible evidence of safety management. There are complex measurement methods, but they take an army of specialists to drive them. TML simplified a complex method but it, along with most such systems, begs more questions than it solves. Any project should therefore devise its own method of measurement. Of course, the only true method is to be able to say that no one was hurt. Environmental Monitoring and Control of Incidents TML has sensors in the tunnel to measure temperature, oxygen, carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dioxide, flammable gases, water flows, etc. All measurements by these sensors are permanently recorded on a time base and are monitored in real time by full-time duty controllers. The control center is also the hub of all the radio and telephone communications networks. The duty controllers work to a set of procedures to control incidents. They call for emergency help from off site if needed and can command help from on site as required. There is also a roster of main controllers. Main controllers, one at a time, give continuous, on-call cover. Needless to say, main controllers are again line managers in disguise. This takes the paper nicely back to the original theme: it is the line managers who must manage safety and control incidents and emergencies, just as they manage such things as costs, productivity, quality, and industrial relations.

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--> Figure 6 TML's safety wall.

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--> Discussion Responding to a question, Tim Green said that the figures shown in his presentation did not reflect the combined English and French work forces. At peak, the total number of workers from both England and France was approximately 15,000. The Channel Tunnel will finally have required about 74,000 man-years of construction work. Participants were also curious about the differences in English and French safety regulations. The English and French have very different safety cultures and regulatory styles. In particular, the electrical requirements of the two nations are entirely different. However, the Channel Tunnel project permanently links the two together. Mr. Green anticipates that the project will have to maintain its own set of electrical regulations, representing a compromise negotiated between the two countries. Another, more common example of the difference in cultures and national regulatory styles is the issue of smoking and drinking alcohol in the work place. English health and safety laws do not allow either activity, but French workers do both; they sometimes share cigarettes with their English colleagues at the midpoint, and bottles of champagne have also been available on special occasions.