Woven Into Everything

Health and safety are front and center at NASSCO

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I am often asked the question “Why isn’t safety one of NASSCO’s core values?” My answer is always the same — because that just isn’t enough. Our core values of adaptability, camaraderie, efficiency, fairness, knowledge and support are either talents we possess or behaviors we exhibit, based on different circumstances. To us, safety means action, practiced continually.

As a result, NASSCO’s approach is to weave health and safety into everything we do. For example, when the question of potential safety risks of styrene emissions used in the CIPP process was introduced to our industry a few years back, NASSCO immediately formed an industry-wide workgroup and funded the first phase of independent research through the Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education at the University of Texas-Arlington. CUIRE conducted a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of all published reports.

When the findings came back inconclusive, NASSCO forged on with the Phase 2 study, this time conducted by the Trenchless Technology Center at Louisiana Tech, to measure styrene emissions in the field. TTC’s findings and recommendations were to include a 15-foot perimeter around exhaust manholes and make sure emission stacks are at least 6-feet high. These recommendations were then promptly shared with our industry by NASSCO. While this permitted NASSCO to improve industry safety standards, the Phase 2 study findings presented additional questions regarding styrene emissions in or around the refrigerated truck. NASSCO then moved forward by funding the Phase 3 study, again with TTC, to measure the breakthrough time of various coating and resin combinations, and to create a mathematical model showing emission concentration versus time for different coatings and thicknesses. 

Speaking of the NASSCO safety pages on our website, NASSCO’s Health and Safety Committee, chaired by Dennis Pivin, CSP, and co-chaired by Tad Powell, P.E., has launched a “Vital Safety Updates” page to keep industry professionals current on the latest health and safety news, recommendations and concerns. NASSCO’s Health and Safety Committee is involved in nearly everything NASSCO does. Some of the committee’s other activities include the production of health and safety videos, oversight of research such as the CIPP styrene safety studies mentioned above, review of all NASSCO specification guidelines and other published materials, ensuring that health and safety concerns are incorporated in NASSCO’s Workforce Development Committee’s trenchless technology curriculum, keeping a pulse on other industry health and safety initiatives, presenting at industry conferences and seminars and so much more.

Safety goes way beyond a poster on a wall or guidance on where the nearest exit is located at the start of a meeting. While it can never be enough, NASSCO does everything we can to weave health and safety into everything we do. To learn more, visit nassco.org/safety. The safety section on www.nassco.org includes all phased studies, reports, findings and recommendations, as well as resources, styrene safety materials for download, confined-space entry information and how to prevent fall protection violations, with much more content planned in the future.

To submit a question to our Health and Safety Committee, please email safety@nassco.org. Above all, please stay safe.


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