Two gas leaks in May prompt safety concerns
Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm in News
Construction crews employed by the university accidentally triggered two gas leaks during May, raising questions about construction safety within the USC area.
The first gas line was ruptured at the intersection of McClintock and Hellman Way near Cromwell Field on May 4 and resulted in a fire and the injury of one construction worker. The second leak occurred at Archimedes Plaza on May 30.
Steve Goldfarb, a fire safety and emergency planning specialist at USC, said the occurrence of more than one gas leak in a month is extremely rare and should not be seen as a cause for concern.
‚Äú[Having two gas leaks] is unusual, but it‚Äôs unusual to have gas leaks period,‚ÄĚ Goldfarb said. ‚ÄúWe work diligently with all these outside contractors who come in and do the work to make sure they know how to be safe and avoid these types of things.‚ÄĚ
Because of these recent incidents, the university will also be reviewing safety procedures with construction crews to ensure all hazards are averted, Goldfarb said.
‚ÄúEven though we did it prior to these happenings, we‚Äôre still going back and talking to all the contractors and reminding them to make sure they avoid that from ever happening again,‚ÄĚ Goldfarb said. ‚ÄúWe also make sure our contractors call our emergency number, and that activates our emergency response teams.‚ÄĚ
Goldfarb said that the teams responded quickly in both cases. USC spread information about the leaks through its Trojan Alert system.
Madeline Berthold, a junior majoring in sociology, said the university should be more proactive in preventing these dangerous incidents from occurring and place more of a priority on completing projects in the safest way possible.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs obvious that if there‚Äôs a gas leak that the construction crews need to be more careful when doing their work,‚ÄĚ Berthold said. ‚ÄúIt would be wrong for the [construction workers] to place speed and efficiency over the safety of students and themselves.‚ÄĚ
Other students said the university handled the incident well. Rachel Bensimon, a sophomore majoring in communication, said she appreciated being notified through the Trojan Alert system.
‚ÄúI go through the area near the [first] gas leak often, so I appreciated being notified that it was dangerous to be in the area at that time due to the ruptured gas line,‚ÄĚ Bensimon said.