Excavation Safety: General Requirements
Almost every month somewhere in the news you can read about a worker being injured or killed when a trench they were working in collapses. These injuries and fatalities are preventable with planning and proper execution of safety precautions.
Trench collapses can occur without warning, regardless of the depth. The vast majority of trenching fatalities occurs in trenches 5- to 15-feet deep. These depths invite taking chances, and often times it is the good, safe-looking material that turns out to be the unsuspecting killer. But trench cave-ins don’t have to happen. This week we will review information that can help you avoid these potentially deadly accidents. Make sure you know and follow the requirements:
- Before beginning excavation, establish the locations of underground and overhead utilities and services. Contact utility companies and advise them prior to the start of excavation
- Remove or support all surface encumbrances, as necessary, to safeguard employees
- Employees working in trenches 4 feet deep or more should have an adequate and safe means of exit, such as ladders, steps or ramps available at no more than 25 feet of lateral travel
- Employees exposed to public vehicular traffic must wear suitable garments marked with or made of reflectorized or high-visibility material
Additional Requirements will be reviewed tomorrow.