Wolf Creek Dam is abuzz with machinery, often bottlenecked with equipment and vehicles, and work crews move about like ants on the work platform in performance of their duties on this foundation-remediation project. Despite what seems like construction commotion, there hasn’t been a lost-time accident in more than a year.
During this period, more than
700,000 safe-maintenance hours were amassed on the project, mainly due to the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District and the contractor,
Treviicos-Soletanche Joint Venture (TSJV), carefully orchestrating maintenance
activities and promoting safety on the job.
“A year without a lost-time
accident is a significant accomplishment,” says Bill DeBruyn, Nashville
District’s resident engineer at Wolf Creek Dam. “On this project, it is made
more significant by the fact that over a one-year period, the contractor worked
two 12-hour shifts, and operated roughly 24 pieces of heavy equipment.”
DeBruyn says the difficult work
also is compounded for the contractor, which operates in a cramped work space
measuring 80-feet wide and 4,000-feet long. “The fact that the contractor was
able to control the safety environment and prevent lost-time accidents over
this year-long period is indeed commendable,” he stresses.
“Lots of effort, commitment and
dedication have been invested to create the safety culture that is present on
site,” notes Fabio Santillan, project manager for TSJV.
John Schnebelen, Nashville
District’s safety manager at Wolf Creek Dam, says a lot of coordination takes
place between the Corps and the contractor to foster the safety culture that
Santillan mentioned. The coordination includes daily safety meetings, frequent
reviews of procedures, and safety inspectors being present on the work platform
to watch over the commotion of activity, and identify situations that could
lead to unsafe acts or accidents. In addition, employees receive mandatory
safety training as required by the Occupational Safety and Health
“A continuous presence on the site
ensures safety procedures are followed,” Schnebelen says. “A different
management representative also joins a safety walk each week. Safety
remains our number-one priority. I am very pleased with the success of our
The project continues to move
forward, and officials say safety is important because accidents can hurt
people, equipment and even the dam, and also can cause delays.
“At this point, keeping
momentum, not losing focus, and maintaining a consistent safety program is our
ultimate goal,” Santillan relates.
DeBruyn says the Corps continues
to work closely with the contractor to keep safety at the forefront of the
project. “Fixing the dam and ensuring public safety hinges on our ability to be
safe in every aspect of this project,” asserts DeBruyn. “The Corps will
continue to place a very high priority on safety in partnership with the