Second Quarter 2013 F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems Newsletter

power plant fire protection 

2nd Quarter, 2013 Newsletter

With all of the trench safety incidents in the news and the increase in underground work we have seen recently, we have decided to dedicate this issue to underground excavation.  In the second quarter newsletter, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is featuring a case study that revolves around an underground fire main installation.  This project had numerous obstacles, including torrential rains that flooded the trenches.  Learn how F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems overcame the hurdles and finished the complete install in eight weeks.

Our Spotlight on Safety goes hand-in-hand with the case study, focusing on the dos and don’ts of trench excavation and work.  We hope that this newsletter topic will provide some new insight into trench safety.


Daryl Bessa
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems

 underground fire main installation

When F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was tasked with the job of completing an underground installation and upgrade with a strict deadline, Mother Nature attempted to impede their plans.  However, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems persevered, and finished earlier than the original deadline.

Plant’s Sale Results in Tight Deadline 

A small town in Will County, Illinois with a population that barely reaches 2,000 is the home to a “peaker plant” that supplements the electrical needs of local homes and businesses.  This plant was in a tight position when it was sold to a new owner with the stipulation of updating the fire protection before the 12 week close date.  In comes F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems, who not only finished on time, but early despite numerous obstacles.


In November, 2012, a 39 year old construction worker from North Carolina died while working in a trench when it caved in due to improper safety precautions.  In November, 2011 a nineteen year old was killed when an unprotected trench collapsed.  OSHA issued violations for failing to provide proper head protection, failing to keep spoil piles 2+ feet from the edge of the trench, and failing to train employees on recognizing hazards.  A Florida construction company failed to slope or shore a trench, killing one and injuring two.  Trench cave-ins are the top cause for employee injury and fatalities above any other trenching safety issue.  By following proper safety precautions, employees working in trenches have the tools to get home safely.

OSHA requires that all excavations that put employees at risk for cave-ins be protected by one of the following methods:

·         Sloping or benching – forming an incline on the sides of an excavation.

·         Shoring – Using site built structures made with timbers, planks, or plywood to support the sides of an excavation.

·         Shielding – Using trench boxes or trench shields to prevent the walls from collapsing.

spotlight on safety 

The most common causes of a cave-ins are not using shoring, using inadequate shoring, excavating too closely to a building or utility pole, misjudging the stability of the soil, vibrations caused during construction work that destabilizes the soil, or weather conditions that change the stability of the soil.

Soil should be tested before excavation.  Type A soil (clay, silty clay, sandy clay, and clay loam) is stable and okay for excavation.  Type B soil (silt, silty loam, and sandy loam) has middle range stability.  Type C soil is granular soil such as gravel, sand, or watery soil.  It is unstable and requires extra precautions when excavating.


 new power plant projects




Akzo Nobel | Morris, IL

F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is upgrading the old fire protection systems and adding new systems. 

Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) | Horseshoe Bay, TX

LCRA is replacing the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant with a new natural gas-fired power plant.  It will be the most efficient, reliable, and environmentally responsible electric generating facility operating in Texas.  F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is providing fire protection and alarms throughout the plant.

Sandow Power Plant, Unit 5 | Sandow, TX

F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is installing additional fire protection systems to this coal handling facility.

Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center | Virginia City, VA

F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was hired by the GC to bring the previously installed fire protection system up to the plant’s specifications.



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