Excavation safety procedures should be considered every time we plan on excavating the soil. Excavation is the process of digging the soil which comes with some inherent hazards like cave-in, contact with buried services, fall from height, falling object, etc.
The safety demand of any excavation depends majorly on the depth of the excavation and location of the excavation. Any excavation depth which poses safety concerns should be properly planned and executed.
Here are “11 Best Excavation Safety Procedures”
- Contact service providers to know the location of buried services within the area of excavation.
- Plan your excavation: We must have a pre-knowledge of how the excavation should look like, the safety concerns and the necessary measures needed to carry out the excavation activity successfully. For instance – If the excavation is to be 3 x 1.50 x 1.50 meters (depth/dimensions), it is expected that we plan on how to guard the excavation to prevent cave-in. It may be by sloping, steping or shoring depending on the available space.
- Use competent workers: This ranges from the excavator operator to be used for the excavation, to the supporting workers. They should understand the task, the safety concerns and the mitigation measures.
- Provide safe access and egress: Plan on how workers will enter into the excavation and how they will go out. Jumping into an excavation should be discouraged.
- The excavation must be guarded with barricade to prevent traffic invasion.
- Warning sign should be placed to warn people off the excavation.
- Heavy equipment should not be allowed to operate close to the excavation as it can cause cave-in.
- Working tools and other materials should not be placed too close to the edge of the excavation. Distance of over one meter (1m) is advised.
- Excavation should be inspected before work commence by a competent person.
- Any sign of crack should be reported to a responsible person. The excavation should be evacuated until the excavation is certified safe for work to continue.
- Use appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) like your safety boots, helmet, hand gloves, eye goggles, etc.
See OSHA Trenching and Excavation Safety