Medidas de seguridad en la ejecución de túneles y obras subterráneas


Safety measures in the execution of tunnels and underground works. Technical Guide.


Safety measures in the execution of tunnels and underground works. Technical Guide.

Working group 1.5 prevention and safety at work.


The construction of tunnels and underground works has seen a significant increase in the last fifty years all over the world and also in Spain. The main reasons have been the construction of fast transport routes crossing mountainous areas, hydraulic works and the development of industrial and urban underground space in increasingly congested cities. These developments have been possible and at the same time have required the development of sciences such as Soil Mechanics and Applied Engineering Geology.
It seems clear that in the future there will be an even greater use of the subsoil for transport, industrial and urban development purposes.
It should be noted that accidents occurring during the construction of tunnels and underground works can have particularly dramatic consequences and can be extremely costly in terms of human lives and repair costs.
As in any type of construction work, safety in the execution of tunnels and underground works is a crucial aspect of the execution and must be rigorously contemplated by eliminating, or failing that confining, the risks present. Account must be taken of the highly specialised nature of these works, which involve specific construction methods and therefore specific risks for the safety of workers.
In civil engineering, accident rates have fallen significantly in recent years. One example is the construction of high-speed lines, where accident rates have halved over the last 10 years. However, there are still dozens of fatal accidents a year in civil works, so the objective for builders, promoters and especially public managers must be to avoid any serious or fatal accidents.
The preventive and protective measures to be applied during the construction of a tunnel or underground works must be devised at the design stage. It seems logical to think that the best preventive measure is always the one which does not require the adoption of protective elements beyond those deriving from the construction method required for the execution of the work itself. For this reason, this Guide incorporates the study of various critical points in the preparation of the Project.
On the other hand, the Guide analyses all the Health and Safety aspects that occur in the work of all underground works, in a technical and efficient way, adapting to the construction method used.
This technical work aims to cover not only the typical underground works units contained in construction projects, but also those real risks that may arise in the material execution of the underground work, derived from the construction method followed, the special treatments used, the control and monitoring and the general specifications for mobility, hygiene, protection and emergencies.

The structure of the Guide can therefore be summarised around four main points as follows:
- General considerations in the execution of tunnels: describing the regulatory framework, documentation requirements and the necessary preventive organisation, as well as the preliminary studies to be carried out in projects.
- Methods of execution: it lists the preventive characteristics associated with the execution of tunnels using traditional methods, integral machines, the "cut and cover" method and the methods specific to the execution of shafts.
- Auxiliary works and installations: preventive measures related to the use of special treatments, monitoring of auscultation and measures derived from auxiliary temporary installations are described.
- Other safety measures: The preventive characteristics associated with the activity of access control and movement inside the tunnel, the hygienic conditions in underground works and the actions to be carried out in the event of emergencies are developed.
The documentation presented here will help to guide and facilitate the preparation of Projects, Studies and Health and Safety Plans which minimise the risks involved in the construction of tunnels and underground works, thus contributing to the reduction of the accident rate in these works.

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Comunicamos la triste noticia del fallecimiento el pasado día 1 de diciembre de D. Rolando Justa Cámara, Ingeniero de Caminos, Canales y Puertos y miembro activo de AETOS, con una participación destacada en varios Grupos de Trabajo y como profesor del Máster en Túneles y Obras Subterráneas.

Lo echaremos de menos. D.E.P.