Excavations & Trenching Safety
Excavating and Trenching is one of the most hazardous construction operations. National statistics show that between 50 and 60 workers die each year
While performing trench and excavation work.
The OSHA standards intend to protect workers in excavations and trenches. These standards require that walls and faces of all excavations in which workers are potentially exposed to danger from moving ground be guarded by a shoring system, safe sloping of the ground, or equivalent means of protection such as trench shields or boxes.
Before Beginning an Excavation, you must examine the following things:
Evaluate the soil conditions. What type of soil is it? Remember, any previously disturbed soil is type C soil. What is the depth of the cut? What is the water content of the soil? Has the weather or climate changed since the trench was dug? Don’t place spoils within two feet from the edge of excavation. Also, be sure to test for low oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gases and provide safe in and out access from the trench. To protect from falls, falling loads and
Mobile equipment be sure to install barricades around the trench. Finally, it is important to know who the competent person is on every jobsite.
The competent person must be capable of identifying hazards, and authorized to
Immediately eliminate them. A competent person must make daily inspections of excavations, areas around them and protective systems: Before work starts and as needed, after rainstorms, and when you can reasonably anticipate an employee will be exposed to hazards.
*Tool Box Talk Based from the NMGC submitted by Preston Pits at Paulsboro Refinery in regards to cave-ins around excavations.