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Daily Archives: September 14, 2021

Volvo CE in Field Trials for Excavator System That Cuts Energy Losses

A Volvo Construction Equipment team from Sweden and South Korea has been quietly working with Finnish company Norrhydro to develop an electro-hydraulic system that promises to drastically cut energy losses and improve fuel efficiency in its excavators.

In a manner similar to common rail fuel systems, all the excavator’s work functions are connected to a hydraulic accumulator via a common pressure rail and two or more pressure lines. These accumulators recover kinetic energy and peak power supply that is normally lost in a conventional system. For cylinder-driven work, “smart actuators” convert hydraulic power to variable force and speed. Energy recovery through the system also boosts the performance and efficiency of the machine’s swing function.

All this energy efficiency translates into a smaller engine and cooling system doing the same work as a larger system, which ultimately results in more work done for less fuel and fewer greenhouse gasses. Additionally, with greater power on tap, cycle times can be shortened, for example when loading a truck, which contributes overall efficiency to the work and cost benefits to the contractor.

Volvo is currently conducting customer trials in the field, and it is expected to accelerate the introduction of the system across Volvo CE’s large excavator platform, with availability coming in the near future. The new electro-hydraulic system is part of Volvo’s e-mobility program to increase fuel efficiency and reach the Volvo’s ultimate goal of net-zero emissions operations.

Contractor Faces $1.35M in Fines After 2 Die in Dump Truck Incident

A Boston area contractor faces $1.35 million in penalties following the death of two workers who were hit by a dump truck and then fell into a 9-foot-deep excavation, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The trenching, excavation and underground construction contractor was cited with 28 violations. OSHA also used its “egregious citation policy” to propose additional penalties due to the company’s history of infractions and the severity of the incident, the agency said. The policy enables OSHA to issue a separate financial penalty for each of the 28 violations.

OSHA said the contractor had been fined for 14 previous violations for a total of $81,242. However, $73,542 of those fines were unpaid and referred to debt collection. OSHA is also investigating another incident involving alleged excavation violations on August 13 on a utilities project in East Boston.

Atlantic Coast Utilities/Advanced Utilities of Wayland, Massachusetts, was the contractor on a sewer repair project in downtown Boston on February 24 when Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero, 27, and Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez, 33, died. OSHA says the penalties also affect predecessor company Shannon Construction Corporation, owner Laurence Moloney and successor company Sterling Excavation. Sterling was also the contractor on the August 13 project being investigated.

“While two families still mourn the loss of their loved ones, this employer has ignored safety violations, failed to pay fines and shown a total disregard for the safety of its employees,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health James Frederick. “OSHA will use every enforcement and legal tool available to hold scofflaw companies such as this and their owners accountable.”

OSHA issues citations

On February 24, Romero and Gutierrez were working on an emergency sewer repair project when an Atlantic Coast Utilities dump truck struck them while backing up and caused them to fall into the excavation.

Emergency responders found them in the hole, and they were pronounced dead on the scene.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating the incident.

The bulk of the proposed financial penalties, which total $1,350,884, were related to failing to train workers on excavation and road work hazards.

“When you fail to train your employees properly, you deny them the most valuable tool they can have, knowledge. Knowledge to do their work correctly and safely, knowledge to understand the hazards that accompany their job and knowledge of how to identify and eliminate those hazards before they injure, sicken or kill workers,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Jeffrey Erskine in Boston.

OSHA also issued the following safety and health violations for the incident:

Inadequate cave-in protection. Failing to protect workers from potentially hazardous gases in the excavation. Repeat violation for workers in a trench where the pavement has been undermined.Ladder did not extend at least 3 feet above street level.No inspections program for worksites.Traffic control measures did not meet standards.Defects had not been corrected on dump truck before incident.Workers were not wearing high-visibility vests.Failure to properly document and report the two deaths to OSHA.

D.C. DOT Opens Triple-Arch Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge

Vehicles can now travel the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., marking the end of the largest construction project in the District Department of Transportation’s history.

Work began in 2018 on the triple-arch bridge over the Anacostia River. It replaces a 70-year-old bridge to provide an updated link between Maryland and D.C. It is part of a program to improve safety and traffic on the I-295/D.C. 295 corridor. The next phase involves reconstructing the Suitland Parkway/I-295 interchange.

A year ago, the city celebrated the last piece of the final arch being placed. The new bridge is 100 feet parallel to the old bridge, which has been traveled by 77,000 vehicles a day, mostly of Maryland commuters to D.C. It was deemed to be functionally obsolete. All traffic had been shifted from the old bridge to the new one by September 12.

The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., being prepared for its opening.District Department of TransportationAlong with the arches, features on the new bridge include four pedestrian overlooks and two piers that appear to float on the river. Six lanes of traffic now span the bridge, as well as new biking and walking paths.

The contractor for the new bridge consists of a joint venture of Archer Western Construction and Granite Construction companies. AECOM is the lead designer, and HNTB is assisting the District Department of Transportation with program and construction management.

Check out this DDOT video of the final arch piece being installed:

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