Environmental Health & Safety

Utility Tunnel Safety

The University of California, Riverside (UCR) maintains an extensive tunnel system to facilitate the maintenance and repair of campus utility distribution systems. The tunnel system is a critical portion of the University's utility distribution system and must be managed and utilized in a safe manner. The University of California, Riverside Environmental Health and Safety has developed this program to provide procedures for safely working in the UCR tunnel system and sets forth the requirements for all University employees, associated contractors and vendors.

This Utility Tunnel Safety Program applies to the University of California, Riverside spaces requiring a tunnel key for entry, and to all persons entering tunnel spaces on behalf of the University of California. This program also applies to any campus utility tunnels, except sections specifically designated as "Confined Spaces". Sections of the tunnels designated as confined spaces, can be entered in accordance with EH&S Confined Space Entry Program.

Note: Only persons that have authorization from Facilities Services or the Steam Plant may enter the tunnel systems. Unauthorized personnel will be considered trespassers.


Department Responsiblities (Facilities Services/Steam Plant)

The Department whose personnel require tunnel key for entry or own personnel entering tunnels is responsible for the utility tunnel systems, identifying hazards/activities in the tunnel system and develop controls to prevent injuries in tunnels. The department owning or personnel entering utility tunnel is also responsible for the system equipment within the tunnels and supervising all entrant personnel. The Department must:

  • Approve all access and all work conducted in the tunnel systems.
  • Approve key authorization into the tunnel systems.
  • Ensure their employees are adequately trained regarding tunnel safety, and following the procedures of this program.
  • Effectively enforce compliance of the tunnel safety procedures.
  • Ensure that the equipment required to enter and work in tunnels are in proper working conditions and made available for use.
  • Ensure the Utility Tunnel Safety Work Plan is filled out and followed, including check-in/check-out procedures, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), safe work procedures and reporting any safety hazards observed while working in the tunnel.
  • Communicate the University Tunnel Safety procedures and requirements to all contractor employees and sub-contractor employees who intends to enter the tunnel systems.
  • Establish a general Rescue Plan for employees working in tunnels and include its adaptation to specific tunnel system on campus.
  • Keep/maintain tunnel safety training records.

EH&S/General Safety staff may provide periodic audits, tunnel hazard assessment, training or coordinate training by vendors for campus departments as well as off-campus locations. The department whose personnel enter the tunnel systems can request for training on utility tunnel safety by a training provider outside the University, within the department (assuming the trainer is a tunnel safety-skilled person), or by EH&S. Contact EH&S Training department at 951-827-2609 or the Safety Engineer at 951-827-5118 to arrange for training to be facilitated by EH&S.

More Information

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Environmental Health & Safety

Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Health & Safety

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