Unsafe trenching and excavation have caused a huge amount of injuries and deaths over the years. These incidents happen incredibly fast. Can you imagine one second working away, and the next you are buried alive? That is terrifying on every level. Thankfully, excavation injuries and deaths are also very preventable. Here are some things to go over before you even begin.
Be familiar with the laws and legislation in your area. Contact the proper overseeing officials in your area to be sure. Have an emergency plan in place, have all emergency contacts readily available. Know what services are buried and where they are. Also know where the overhead lines are and what the safe distance is from them or how to have them de-energized. Know what kind of soil you are working with, there could be many kinds in the area you are about to dig up and you need to know them all. Be aware of close by buildings or other work sites that could affect the trench. Before any workers enter the trench, it needs to be tested for oxygen levels and hazardous gases. These tests need to continue while work is being done. Ensure necessary shoring is in place. The proper means need to be taken to prevent a worker from falling into the trench and an above ground spotter is required. And or course a readily available exit for each worker.
Please keep in mind this is just a list of key points. There is so much more that goes into excavation. It’s a lot of permits, planning, safety tickets, PPE and safety red tape, all for a very good reason. If you’re going to be involved in trenching and excavation please go to our website and take one of the trenching, excavation and shoring courses we offer.