Tips to Making Excavation Work Safer

If you have an excavation company, it’s crucial that you make your facility and work as safe as possible for your employees. Doing this can enable you to not only stay within the requirements of the law, but it can also ensure that you improve your reputation and increase productivity. You must be aware of things like an excavation toolbox talk and try your best to keep yourself as well as your employees informed.

You might also want to learn more about things like trench safety month and other details about this. The more informed you and your employees are, the safer you can make the workplace. For this reason, you must never take onboarding or safety training lightly. They can make a big difference to the way in which your industry will run, which will translate into profits and everything else about your company over time.

Remember that it’s also important to properly maintain your equipment in order to avoid any problematic breakdowns. This calls for you to find a professional who can help you to do this. You should also stay informed about the details of your equipment so that you can tell when something is about to become an issue.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports show 22 workers fell victim to trenching and excavation accidents within the first six months of 2022. Therefore, excavation companies must prioritize safety to prevent injuries and fatal accidents. Start by acquainting yourself with the safety procedures and regulations.

Essentially, determine what you will be up against. Nowadays, underneath pavements and roads is a complex network with plumbing lines, heating, and electrical equipment or wiring that require extra care. With this vital information, plan your work and get the requisite clothing and equipment. Failure to provide safety gear such as steel-toed boots, hearing protection, and safety goggles puts you at risk of legal action. Ensure only professionals handle heavy machinery like hydraulic or dual-cab excavators using the excavator safety manual to avoid accidents.

The next step is to determine the suitable excavation method. For instance, you want to go for detailed excavation for precise excavation work such as road construction, driveway preparation, or excavating wet ground. Detail excavation involves moving soil and rocks and clearing materials that may cause injuries.

During excavation, you must put in place safety measures. For instance, provide safe access, including ramps, support walls, and trenches with wire mesh and other materials to prevent cave-ins and loose soil and rocks from harming workers. Also, erect restraining devices and signals to prevent vehicles and people from rolling into the excavation. This article provides more tips to help you carry out excavations safely.

Updated: 2/7/2022

Some aspects of construction excavation safety are comparatively simple. The excavation itself has to be supported as it’s continued. While the ditch excavation process can create safety hazards, if technicians use strong barriers, materials are less likely to fall into these spaces. Resources of all kinds must be kept in a different place, so they’re not close to the edge.

An excavating contractor should have experience with formal safety procedures in these situations. They can use a crawl space digging machine effectively. The excavated crawl space definition might vary slightly, but the space typically occurs below a building.

It isn’t especially deep, and it helps technicians reach the heating or plumbing equipment. Creating these crawl spaces can be somewhat disruptive, which is one of the reasons why technicians will usually pursue other options before reaching this step.

However, they’ll still use safe digging practices when they need to create crawl spaces like this. Restoring the area afterward might take even more time. However, making those repairs will also be essential. If professionals needed to take this step, then it’s particularly important for them to complete that work. They can get the area back to its original state safely after everything else has been finished.

If you have a tree that you want to remove on your property, or you want to flatten uneven places in your landscape, consider first how much you will save by not hiring a professional excavation company.

Excavation is dangerous work and requires a professional, especially if it’s commercial work that needs the biggest hydraulic excavator and dual cab excavator. Here are ways in which a professional company can help your home or business.

Skill and experience
A professional excavation service employs experienced workers who know all the excavation equipment names and their functions. Plus, their experience allows them to work smarter and not harder. They know when and where to use a small excavator machine and where to use a big one to preserve your land.

Speed and efficiency
Doing excavation work with a professional company is completely different from using an amateur. A professional company has to meet certain standards and must complete the job within an agreed schedule. Therefore, when you hire a pro, they will work with speed and efficiency.

Rules and regulations
In many places, before you carry out excavation work, you must adhere to specific rules that are imposed to avoid fines and penalties. A professional company understands rules that are imposed in every area, and they train their staff to abide by them.

Excavation shoring requirements

If you work in an industry where you have to deal with excavations and trenches, you know how dangerous they can be. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) views these are some of the most dangerous parts of working in construction or for a utility company. As a consequence, they have put in place some serious rules and regulations that govern shoring systems and trench shoring boxes.

The first thing you need to do is get to understand what OSHA means when they talk about trenches, excavation projects and shoring systems. Any cavity that has been created by humans, including trenches or depressions, is an excavation as per the agency’s rules. They consider any excavation, that is more deep than it is wide and is no wider than 15 feet, to be a trench.

When the trench in question is deeper than five feet, unless it has been created completely in stable rock, needs additional protection be provided for the workers who will be in the trench. There are different types of shoring systems that should be used in this setting. Also when the trench reaches the depth of 20 feet, a professional engineer needs to be brought in to design the trench shield. At the very least, the shoring systems that are used need to be designed based on data supplied by a professional engineer.

While no one really expects accidents and issues with their trenches or excavations to happen on their job sites, the problem is they often do. OSHA does not make these rules and regulations in a vacuum. They have special regulations for these situations because of how dangerous they are and how many accidents happen. They report that collapses in trenches are responsible for at least two deaths every month.

If you are in the construction business and have not spent much time looking into and thinking about the basics of dealing with trenches, it is never a bad idea to have a refresher in the best practices for working safely with trenches. It is important to keep workers safe in the event of a cave in on your workplace.

  • Never let workers go into an unprotected trench. This is just a recipe for disaster. Make sure you have the right shoring system in place.
  • Make sure everyone has the right training. There is no reason you should allow your employees to work in and around trenches without getting the appropriate safety training. You new workers should get it but you should also provide refresher courses to the people who have been with you a while. Make it easy for people to access your safety policies and procedures.
  • Make sure everyone understands that safety on the job site is everyone’s responsibility. You should have experts who can look for potential hazards but if someone else sees something that does not look right, they should tell someone.
  • Always check out your trenches before and after each shift or after bad weather hits. A lot can happen during the course of a shift. A lot can happen overnight when no one is around. Even more can happen to damage a trench during a rain storm. OSHA has some specific requirements for the staff who are tasked with doing these inspections. They need to be trained on what they should look for and what hazards may come up with trenches and shoring systems.
  • Have the right escape systems available. If you have trenches that are more than four feet deep, you need to supply ladders (these need to extend three feet above the top of the trench), ramps or stairs. Your workers in the trench should never have to work more than 25 feet from the exit of these trenches and you need to have exits on both sides of a trench.
  • Check the oxygen levels in your trenches. You should also check for toxic fumes or gases in the trench. There are systems and tool you can use for this. You should not use a bird in your trench to check these levels.

It may often seem that OSHA creates its rules and regulations to be annoying but they do make a difference and can save lives. These tips can make your workplace much safer.