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  • Toilet Brushes and Window Scrapers for Tools: Workers Outline Chaos on the Ground at Muskrat Falls

    (Photo of construction in June 2017, courtesy Nalcor)

    Some eye-opening testimony at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry as it resumed this morning after a two-week break.

    A workers’ panel made up of experienced construction professionals described disorganization, poor management, bad decisions and a lack of proper tools among the work conditions at the site.

    Ed Knox, Perry Snook, Ken White and Larry Cavaliere outlined some of the things they encountered on the job while working at the site.

    Dome Idea ‘Just Didn’t Make Sense’

    Cavaliere was employed by Astaldi and put in charge of the powerhouse. He was asked in June to construct the Integrated Cover System or “The Dome” over the worksite to extend the construction window with winter approaching.

    Cavaliere told Inquiry co-council Kate O’Brien, what they were asking for wasn’t “doable” given the size of the structure, the amount of work needed and the time in which they had to do it.

    He expressed his reservations in an email, but says “I guess they didn’t like what they heard.” He told the Inquiry that in his opinion the ICS structure was a “big mistake” on the part of Astaldi or Nalcor, or whoever decided to do it.

    Cavaliere says the idea behind a dome simply didn’t make sense.

    He says to have ten overhead cranes trying to work simultaneously in a building doesn’t make sense. He says they had four cranes operating in the power house and they “banged into each other already once or twice….imagine if you had ten going on at the same time.”

    The decision to build the dome was eventually scrapped after it was half-built.

    Disorganization and ‘Excessive’ Manpower, But Few Supplies

    Ed Knox joined Astaldi in 2014 and says he could see an immediate lack of planning when he first arrived on site.  He noted disorganization within management and says manpower loading for the amount of work going on at the time seemed “excessive”.

    Knox described the limited tools available on site to do the work at hand.

    He described the use toilet brushes and car window scrapers to clean the rock in preparing the foundations for the reception of concrete.

    Testimony is continuing today.

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