With crews working in an active shipping channel, safety—both for the team and the environment—was a crucial focus of the Brightman Street Bridge replacement in Fall River, Mass. The result: More than 940,000 total work hours and zero lost-time injuries.
Crews erected steel tub girders as heavy as 120,000 lb for the new 1,000-ft-long bascule bridge over the Taunton River. Completed in 2012, it has 60 ft of clearance—twice that of its predecessor— to allow passage of marine traffic in a 200-ft-wide shipping channel.
A committee consisting of a safety specialist and supervisor, who worked full-time with representatives from each crew, constantly monitored the project through daily and weekly meetings and audits.
Extensive onsite training was provided—including project-specific electrical, rigging, and equipment operations; confined-space protocol; and emergency response.
A safety meeting for all stakeholders took place at the beginning of each major phase of construction. Stakeholders discussed work activities, identified potential hazards, and discussed potential mitigation strategies.
Resulting initiatives included the use of wire hickeys to offer mechanical assistance during repetitive high-voltage work; installation of confirming breaks during highly redundant work; ensuring that flanges were completely bolted prior to installation; and providing better access and body positioning for certain tasks.