Of all the jobs being done every day in the field of construction, excavating has been considered one of the most dangerous. The greatest reason excavations sites have been found to be the most dangerous is because the earth becomes unstable when an excavator digs into it, creating a deadly environment for workers, especially those that have not been properly trained for working in a trench. Protect your crews by following these guidelines every time a trench is dug.
Consider The Area You Are Digging In
If you are digging in an area that is already unstable, the chances are higher for a cave-in. If the area has been previously disturbed by other crews, you will need to take special shoring precautions. When planning ahead for digging in an unstable area, follow these important guidelines for maintaining the highest level of worker safety:
If there is traffic nearby to your dig, the vibrations can cause the trench walls to cave-in more easily. Remember to always factor in the vibration of your tractors as well when considering shoring the walls of a trench to prevent them from caving in. Detouring traffic is always a good idea to prevent excessive vibrations in your trench.
Avoid placing the spoil pile too close to the edge of the trench. Once a spoil pile becomes too heavy, gravity will cause it push in the trench wall, causing a cave-in that will also contain the soil in spoil pile. Spoil piles should be at least two feet back from the edge of the trench to prevent their pressure from casing cave-ins.
When water builds up in a trench, whether from broken water pipes or from rainy weather, having the proper equipment on hand to immediately start pumping it out is essential for worker safety.
Shoring And Trench Boxes Should Always Be In Place
Not every trench will require the same type of shoring protection, so your first task is determining which type of shoring safety measurements should be in place. Shoring needs are determined by how deep and how wide a trench is, with the deeper, more narrow trenches being the ones that require the greatest shoring protection. Shields, sometimes referred to as trench boxes, are the best for moving along with workers as they work in a deep trench. However, by having shoring walls in place in addition to protective trench boxes, the level of safety is greatly increased for your workers.
As a construction site foreman, your job is to make sure every worker on an excavation site is properly trained and knows the dangers of cave-ins. Allowing someone without training into a trench can have deadly consequences. Taking the time to make sure your workers take training courses is one of the best ways you can work to increase safety on your excavation sites. Remember, excavation companies, such as Gerard Excavation LLC, should take every precaution when working in trenches.