Tetra Tech’s Excellence and Achievement Award for safety is presented annually to an individual or project team who, when faced with unique safety challenges, applied safe work practices effectively and achieved zero lost time incidents. Among a field of notable 2013 nominations, the Texas Brine project safety team stood out for their excellent performance on an unprecedented project.

Our site remediation and geotechnical experts were called to assist Texas Brine Company, LLC, in responding to a salt cavern collapse that resulted in a 24-acre sinkhole affecting hundreds of residents in Louisiana. Texas Brine hired Tetra Tech to study and contain the sinkhole and install wells and flares to vent pockets of methane gas that allegedly accumulated beneath a local community when the collapse liberated an adjacent natural gas deposit.

The Tetra Tech team of safety professionals provided the expertise needed to perform this work safely. The hazards associated with the project included continued sink hole subsidence, potential exposure to methane and hydrogen sulfide gases, methane gas accumulation and explosion hazards, and heavy equipment operation during the construction of containment levees, vent wells, and gas flares.

Our team mobilized quickly to address this urgent situation, still ensuring that appropriate safety guidance was in place. Todd Harper and Jerry Armstrong led the thorough risk analysis and development of the Health & Safety Plan and Job Safety Analysis for numerous anticipated project tasks. The scope and scale of the project required the support of field staff from 14 offices. Our Health & Safety leadership ensured that all team members received project-specific training and equipment before beginning work.

After the client audited Tetra Tech’s safety program, they requested that we develop and help implement a health and safety program for all contractors working on the site. Personnel from more than 10 companies were brought under the safety guidance of our experts.

Tetra Tech staff have logged more than 45,000 hours on this complex project with no OSHA-recordable incidents. The project team set the standard for cross-enterprise collaboration to bring the best of Tetra Tech to our client and perform our work safely, even when facing unique challenges. Special acknowledgement goes to Todd Harper and Jerry Armstrong for their excellent leadership, with thanks to team members Paul Scott, Jim Toth, and Ted Borer.