Investigations are ongoing following a methane explosion on Toronto’s Southeast Collector (SeC) Sewer Project yesterday. The blast, which occurred around 4.30pm local time (April 10), injured four men working on the A2 TBM drive.
While all four men were admitted to hospital, two have since been released from Markham-Stouffville hospital and a third man was expected to be released today (Thursday). The fourth man, who was airlifted to the Sunnybrook Trauma Centre, remains in hospital undergoing treatment for burns.
Patrick Casey, Director of Corporate Communications for York Region, said contractor Strabag Inc. will be conducting its own investigation into the incident, in addition to an ongoing Ministry of Labour investigation. “As it stands now the shaft is sealed until the Ministry of Labour investigation is complete,” Casey said.
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Although the shaft where the incident occurred is sealed and all work there has stopped, work continues on other sections of the tunnel, with two of the four owner-procured TBMs still in operation.
April 18 update:
With the investigation into the explosion by the Ministry of Labour still ongoing, a stop-work order was issued to Strabag on April 12. “No further tunnelling operations on the project should be undertaken until that order is withdrawn,” said William Lin, a spokesman for the ministry.
As part of that order, Strabag will be required to provide a written assessment of the hazards of the tunnelling operation as it’s being carried out and provide additional training to workers before resuming the project.
Patrick Casey, director of corporate communications for York Region, said it’s too early to tell how the stop-work order will affect the overall project. “Our contractor is continuing to work with the ministry,” he said of Strabag. “Once we can lift that stop-work order, work will continue and at that time we will be able to reassess any timelines. Everyone would like to learn what happened in order to have a better understanding of the incident.”
Click here to view NATJ’s Feb/March 2013 article on the Southeast Collector Trunk Sewer Project.