• Steve H
    114
    Just returned from a short holiday,including a two night cruise on Doubtful Sound aboard the Milford Wander, great trip and crew, I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Came home to find a large hole in the road outside my house, not a problem as I knew work was going to be done on the 1880s barrel drain there. It's well fenced,so not a problem. It's a deep hole, but not a problem as it's shored up very well.

    But, what I see as a potential problem, the team doing the work have lowered a mini excavator into into the pit they've dug. They tell me it's not a problem as "we've got gas detectors mate", thing is, down a six meter hole, with a running excavator, how much warning will they get of a Carbon Monoxide build up? They're a reasonably sized civil engineering contractor, so not fly by night mugs.

    Other "interesting" potential problem, who knows what gases will be released when they break through into the drain itself.
  • Derek Miller
    34
    Hi Steve

    It all depends on what type of gas detector they have as all are not created equal, that is, does it monitor for what they want, it's not uncommon to see gas detectors which do not detect the gas of interest being used on sites, often asscoiated with a lack of training in these devices.
    As for gases, it would all depend on what has been in it so could be anything. Normally I would use a multigas plus PID when going into new areas and don't know what gases or vapours I could be facing.
  • Aaron Marshall
    61
    If my experience of CO detectors is anything to go by, they'll get plenty of warning. The one in our aircraft seems to go off with even the slightest provocation.
  • MattD2
    198
    If my experience of CO detectors is anything to go by, they'll get plenty of warning. The one in our aircraft seems to go off with even the slightest provocation.Aaron Marshall
    Which is a problem in itself as I have talked to at least a few teams that had the gas monitor at the top of the pit because "it keeps going off when we're using the compactor if we have it down here"...
  • Steve H
    114
    35 parts per million is pretty slight, but the point at which it's effects can affect those exposed to CO.
  • Aaron Marshall
    61
    Yep, I know that I silence ours without even thinking about it.
  • MattD2
    198
    They tell me it's not a problem as "we've got gas detectors mate", thing is, down a six meter hole, with a running excavator, how much warning will they get of a Carbon Monoxide build up?Steve H
    It is scarier that if the situation was as you have implied (an excavator running in a 6m pit with no other ventilation provided) and they had a gas monitor down there and it wasn't constantly going off, there is probably a good chance that that gas monitor isn't actually working!

    Two possible ways to ease your conscience and get some sleep at night - let the management of the contractor know (LinkedIn is pretty good to find someone to talk to) or call WorkSafe. Although since the hole is probably filled in by now the first option is probably the only option.

    I also wonder what their response would be if you had followed up their answer with "is that what you would say to a WorkSafe Inspector?" Whilst pulling out a card from your wallet for added dramatic affect!
  • Steve H
    114
    I also wonder what their response would be if you had followed up their answer with "is that what you would say to a WorkSafe Inspector?" Whilst pulling out a card from your wallet for added dramatic affect!MattD2

    I did suggest that they positively ventilate the hole, and consider what they would tell the nearest and dearest of anyone damaged in the event anyone gets CO poisoned. There is an element of double jeopardy, in the right concentration, CO can also create an explosive environment.

    It did become a moot point, as they pulled the Mini Excavator out of the hole the next morning. Then we learned that the local council insisted they dig the hole in a certain location, and it's somewhat off where it needs to be for them to complete the project..
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