American Journal of Applied Sciences

Occupational Safety and Health in Tunnelling in Rocks Formations Potentially Containing Asbestos: Good Practices for Risk Assessment and Management

Davide Labagnara, Mario Patrucco and Achille Sorlini

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2016.646.656

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 13, Issue 5

Pages 646-656


In tunnelling operations, Occupational Safety and Health (OS&H) and Environmental Protection of the areas close to the tunnel portal become even more critical in case of rock formations potentially containing asbestos, quartz, radioactive elements, etc. In order to limit the workers’ exposure and the environmental impact becomes in these cases of paramount importance to preliminarily analyze and quantify the possible presence of the pollutants in the rock and, if necessary, to implement suitable measures to avoid/minimize their emission from the winning and mucking operations. However, in case of asbestos minerals, to obtain reliable results from the preliminary analysis is a challenging task, due to the complex patterns of occurrence of asbestos within the host rock. Consequently, the definition of special monitoring, alarm and control systems is essential during the tunnel excavation. The paper summarizes the results of a thorough study aimed at defining the most suitable monitoring techniques in uncertain situations and the residual criticalities, essentially due to the delay between the beginning of the pollutant release at the tunnel face and its detection. The final part of the work deals with the possible innovative prevention solutions suitable to minimize the previously mentioned delay and ensure the safety of the workers along the time necessary to stop the activities and evacuate the tunnel, on hold of the activation of a special “asbestos” organization.


© 2016 Davide Labagnara, Mario Patrucco and Achille Sorlini. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.