Safety first at cable worksite

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 5:30pm
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With more equipment arriving, and work beginning on the reburial of the undersea transmission cables, The Block Island Times reached out to National Grid and Ørsted about safety protocols, particularly at the north and south parking lots at the Fred Benson Town Beach. Questions were answered by Ted Kresse, National Grid’s Director of Strategic Communications, and Meaghan Wims, spokesperson for Ørsted. Interview conducted by Lars Trodson.

BIT: It’s our understanding that contractors will be taking over a good portion of the south parking lot at the beach, as well as the north lot. Is that correct?

NG: Yes. The construction areas in both the north and south parking lots will be clearly marked and cordoned off to the general public.

Ørsted: Yes, we have agreed with the Town Manager to utilize the remaining portion of the northern parking lot and the southern lot, leaving around 10 spaces for parking and access to the beach at the southern end of the parking lot.

BIT: Will both parking lots be designated hard hat areas?

NG: The cordoned off construction area will be designated for hard hat use. Portions of the parking lot not cordoned off as construction areas by the National Grid and Orsted contractors will not require hard hat usage by the general public. National Grid requires anyone in a designated construction zone to be wearing personal protective equipment and following proper Covid-19 protocols, including hardhats, masks, protective eye glasses, reflective high visibility vests and appropriate footwear at all times.

Ørsted: Yes. Full safety measures have already been implemented at the site and this will be clearly signed.

BIT: While the public will naturally be curious to look at the machinery, should they be discouraged from doing so to keep them safe?

NG: The public is welcome to observe the activity as long as they keep a safe distance from the construction zone and stay outside the safety barriers and security fencing established at the work zones. Even when outside the established safety barriers, members of the public should remain vigilant, as trucks, equipment, and material will be entering and exiting the work zones. Our top priority at all times is the safety of our employees and the members of the communities we serve.

Ørsted: The site will be secured and monitored and we ask that the public keep their distance from the site while visiting.

BIT: How will Orsted/National Grid handle members of the public if they wander into the worksite once the project is underway? Do you have protocols for that?

NG: Members of the public should not enter the construction zone. If they do, they will be asked to leave immediately. Members of the public who have questions about the project are urged to visit sea2shoreri.com or e-mail info@sea2shoreRI. com.

Ørsted: The site will be secured and only permitted personnel will be allowed to enter.