On Thursday 28 April, at Saint-Martin-la-Porte, excavation of the first 10.5 km of the Lyon-Turin base tunnel was completed. At around 11:00 a.m., the workers broke through the last rock wall, connecting the 9 km excavated by the Federica TBM with the kilometre and a half built using the traditional method in one of the most delicate points of the mountain between France and Italy, marked by the presence of a long coal fault.
This is the second construction site of the project to be completed on time and on budget, following the completion of the entrance at Saint-Julien-Montdenis, which was accomplished in autumn 2021. At the same time, work has begun on the French section of the tunnel through which the trains will travel, with the contract for this being awarded in July of last year.
MISSION-S, Sharing Safety
A shared culture and the commitment of the companies
The first step has been to include a high control of safety as an important criterion in the tender documents for the project. The technical and organisational response, the propensity to innovate and the attention paid to the people who will be working in the construction phase has become an object of evaluation and contributes to the choice of contractors. To seal this commitment at the time of awarding the contract, the companies sign with TELT the “Sustainability and Integrity Pact of the Lyon-Turin Companies”, which involves all the players present in the construction sites (Client, Works Management, Safety Coordinators, companies, sub-contractors and self-employed workers) sharing and pursuing the same objectives. In the wake of international best practices, an incentive mechanism is being worked on with a reward system for those who distinguish themselves each year in the field of safety, encouraging companies to do even better.
Smart construction sites and benchmarking
To build Europe’s longest tunnel, the construction sites need to be 4.0, with software capable of sharing and managing safety processes. For this reason, the objective is to integrate the information systems increasingly for remote control (access, movement of materials and people, etc.) and continuous monitoring of the working environment. This goes hand in hand with a constant comparison of procedures, best practices and performance with other international clients engaged in similar works or who have long experience in highly complex activities.
A fundamental step is to increase the perception of risks by all those involved: employees, managers and workers’ representatives. Everyone must be informed of the potential risks and dangers of the construction site. In addition to the continuous training of its employees on health and safety issues in the various operational areas, a constant monitoring of events in the construction sites has been put in place. This is a tool that makes it possible to intervene promptly in critical situations with actions of investigation, warning and focus on suppliers. Furthermore, starting from the assumption that every accident or incident is almost never the result of chance or bad luck, but of small or large causes whose combination can generate one, it becomes essential to be able to know the causal links in order to block the chain that leads to the accident before it actually takes place. The heads of Carsat (Caisse d’Assurance Retraite et de Santé Au Travail) and the Occupational Safety Unit of the ILO also spoke.