Murphy creates safe zone in Crossrail tunnel

Leading engineering and construction firm, J. Murphy & Sons Limited (Murphy) has introduced new strategies and thinking to improve site safety and efficiency while working on Crossrail.

With a strong safety cultural development programme in place at Murphy and an emphasis on sharing ideas, the team working on a 3km section of Crossrail, from Plumstead to Woolwich, developed new and creative solutions that were used in work on the tunnel running under the Thames.

Murphy identified that a device for telehandlers would help improve safety in their day-to-day work and came up with the idea of the ‘Safe T Zone’. This bespoke solution was installed on the telehandlers used to build the Crossrail tunnel and can be used across the company’s entire fleet. It minimises the potential for unsafe movements of underslung goods by limiting the operation of the telehandler and restricting its movement.

The Safe T Zone reduces the variance in the typical movements of telehandlers when moving compared to when stationary, yet allows the system to work in two different states.

In state one, the vehicle is stationary and the movement of the boom is completely unrestricted at all times, allowing full use of the machine’s capabilities. In the second state, when driving forward or reversing, the maximum boom length and working angle is limited. This effectively creates two different working states for the equipment – stationary and travel – whereby the scope for travel of the trial unit is pre-determined by Murphy, based on a JCB 5 m telehandler.

The Safe T Zone has now been successfully tested on five Murphy sites across the country.

Ian Harris, a telehandler operator who trialled the Safe T Zone for Murphy, said:

“Using the Safe T Zone is really changing our behaviour to better understand what can and can’t be done safely. It’s also comforting to know it’s there. It helps take the risk of using a telehandler incorrectly down a level and is really simple to use. Safe T Zone is an excellent device.”

Another example of thinking creatively, for maximum efficiency and safety, was the idea to use a cherry-picker deep within the Crossrail tunnel. This proved to be the perfect solution to allow operatives to reach the highest points in the tunnel, quickly, easily and safely.

The team at Murphy chose the light Hybrid Niftylift Height Rider 21 for its combination of strength and ease of movement, and it proved ideal for attaching lights to the entire length of the tunnel for safer work conditions. This hybrid cherry-picker also gave operatives an easier, quicker and safer way to inject resin into the tunnel sealing it and making it watertight.

Murphy chose this model, with its electric motor, as it reduced the release of harmful emissions in enclosed environments, as well as minimising noise within the tunnel for better working conditions. With lower fuel consumption, running costs and noise emissions, the humble cherry-picker ensured Murphy completed this phase of the project safely and on time.