|Description:||Workers coming from man lock at the Queens Midtown Tunnel construction site, New York City. “To keep water out of the construction sites, compressed air - of up to 37.5 pounds per square inch - was supplied from special power houses. Sandhogs entered and left the work zone through ‘man locks’ in bulkheads, which sealed off the construction site underground. Inside the man locks, air pressure was gradually adjusted to allow the workers to safely enter or leave the excavation without experiencing decompression sickness, or “the bends,” a dangerous ailment caused by the release of nitrogen bubbles into the bloodstream and tissues if decompression occurs too rapidly.” (from “From the Archive,” MTA Bridges and Tunnels Archives, Autumn 1998, p. 7.) Two original captions exist for this photo. Caption 1: “N.Y.C. Tunnel Authority. Gang coming into compressed air from manlock. Queens Midtown Tunnel.” Caption 2: Tunnel leaving cage at head of shaft. Coming off shift.”|
The NIOSH Historic Photo Collection began as the “picture file” of the Industrial Hygiene Division of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), c. 1930-1960. It is a unique collection of mid-20th Century images of American workers and workplaces and documents occupational safety and health research of that era. The collection consists of approximately 1,000 original photographs and schematic drawings.