The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide a safe and healthful work place for employees. Therefore, the employer is the organizational entity or individual cited and fined for failure to comply with OSHA regulations. In the context of this paper, the entity cited will be a construction contractor or subcontractor or another contractor or agency having employees exposed to a particular hazard, whether caused by an employee's employer or another employer working at the same site. In the latter case, citations are issued in compliance with OSHA's multiemployer work-site policy outlined in the OSHA Field Operations Manual.
Various provisions of the OSHA regulation follow.
Access and egress is generally interpreted to require a safe walking surface in the tunnel, which personnel may traverse without being exposed to water, debris, or tripping hazards. To date, the European practice of providing a safety railing between a walkway and a haulage way has not been a U.S. requirement, but this possibility should be considered in the United States and a decision obtained from the agency ultimately determined to have jurisdiction before cost estimates are finalized. Contracts should clearly establish who will construct and maintain the walking surface, since it will be traversed by employees of numerous employers, including technicians, rescue personnel, and official visitors. For obvious reasons, the walkway should be out of the path of moving equipment, but in a tunnel boring machine (TBM)-driven tunnel this can mean additional blocking or shoring to provide a level surface above the invert. Providing a safe walking surface in the area of sumps, track switches, or passing zones will carry additional costs. Other hazards to walking personnel, such as conveyor belts, electrical conductors, and load lines, should be kept a safe distance from the walkway or otherwise guarded.
Personnel haulage requirements generally follow Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) requirements for man-cars or tracks transporting personnel. Arms or heads protruding from the conveyance are the chief hazard requiring attention.
- Check-in/check-out is a common requirement for underground construction and is easily met. Maintaining a single check-in/check-out board facilitates a rapid determination of how many people are underground in the event of an emergency.