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Florida Gas & Electric Earns Sunshine State Safety Award for Tampa International Airport Project

Florida Gas & Electric

Florida Gas & Electric

Installing a mile of manholes and conduit line along the side of a major airport runway or highway might seem dangerous to some, but not to Florida Gas & Electric. The Land O’Lakes subcontractor for major utilities and site developers specializes in directional drilling and hand-trenching of underground utilities. Florida Gas & Electric’s safety reputation precedes them, and this year they are a Sunshine State Safety Recognition Award winner for their Tampa International Airport project.

Tampa Electric Corporation awarded the manhole and conduit package project to Florida Gas & Electric in January 2009. “Our safety record and our reputation for minimal property damage helps us win projects,” says Bob Albertson, safety director and quality control manager for Florida Gas & Electric. The airport project involved digging 13 manholes and one-mile of six-inch conduit pipe to carry live electric feeder wires. It also meant closing Tampa International Airport’s east-west runway 9-27. Albertson said the airport project actually felt safer than working along major highways. “Roadside traffic can be dangerous. With this project, we worked closely with the airport authority to make sure our working near a runway wouldn’t be a deterrent for progress.”

Florida Gas & Electric divided the airport project into sections to ensure everything was in place planning and materials-wise. Each morning, the team held safety meetings for everyone working on the project, including foreman, operators and, especially, newer workers. The daily meetings addressed safety issues and brought potential safety hazards to the spotlight. “The guys that weren’t too experienced actually brought a different perspective to the project; they see things you might not see,” said Albertson. Even though the team experienced minor underground water and utility issues along the way, the project was successfully completed ahead of schedule. “The project was scheduled for completion in August, but we finished May 1, 2009. You can work efficiently and safe at the same time by incorporating planning and safety into your process.”